Death of 1-year-old Cullman County boy ruled homicide, parents charged

Court records show the boyfriend of a mother whose child died on his first birthday last week gave the child Tabasco sauce as punishment and held him under water for nearly 30 seconds.

Hoss Wayne Benham died March 11. The child's 23-year-old mother Crystial Ballenger and 37-year-old Jeffrey Hugh Brown are charged with aggravated child abuse. They remain in custody on a $30,000 bond.

In a Cullman County investigator's sworn affidavit, Benham had burns on his feet, lesions to his rectum, bruising to his scrotum, and several bruises on his face.

No additional charges have been found. The investigation is ongoing.

To read the court documents related to the case, including the complaint, arrest warrant and statement of probable cause, click here.