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Couple Charged in Beating That Left 4-Year-Old Boy With Brain Injuries

 Jose Morales, 26, and Amy Pherigo, 37, were charged with aggravated battery of a child.
Jose Morales, 26, and Amy Pherigo, 37, were charged with aggravated battery of a child.
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Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A couple appeared in court on Sunday on allegations they left a 4-year-old with severe injuries caused by multiple beatings.

Jose A. Morales, 26, of Romeoville, and Amy Pherigo, 37, were charged with aggravated battery after someone called the Illinois Department of Family Services, and authorities made a horrific discovery.

On April 29, police found a 4-year-old boy under a blanket inside a Brighton Park home in the 4400 block of South Fairfield Avenue, Assistant State's Attorney Heather Kent said. The boy is related to Pherigo.

The boy's eyes were swollen shut, and he had multiple bruises on his face. Doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital eventually treated the boy for hematomas to his brain, fractured ribs with hematomas, lacerations to his liver, a lacerated spleen, a lacerated cheek and severe bruising to his face, Kent said.

A hematoma, a collection of blood, usually clotted outside blood vessels, occurs when blood vessels are damaged through some sort of trauma.

The boy also suffered severe bruising on both arms, legs and back, as well as deep scratching to his back and left heel, Kent said. It wasn't clear what his condition was as of Sunday.

The beatings took place from about March 1 until the officers arrived in Pherigo's home April 29, Kent said. Pherigo generally took care of the child, and Morales looked after the boy when Pherigo went to work, according to Kent.

In an interview, the victim pointed to Morales as the man who hit him, according to Kent. According to Kent, Pherigo also made incriminating statements to a witness.

According to prosecutors, a witness and sibling said Pherigo tried to conceal the boy's injuries with makeup. Another witness saw Morales use fingernail clippers to cut the boy's leg, Kent said.

Pherigo allegedly told authorities the injuries happened after the boy fell down stairs.

Police arrested the couple on Friday, according to court documents.