Son of Carrollton police chief arrested on child abuse charges

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A Villa Rica man was arrested after his 3-year-old stepson was found with head injuries. The little boy was rushed to an area hospital where he was listed in critical condition as of Wednesday.

Joshua Richards, the son of Carrollton Police Chief Joel Richards, was arrested at the Hickory Falls Apartments just before 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Richards was crying in court Wednesday as the charges were read in court Wednesday. Investigators believe Richards beat the 3-year-old boy with a belt. The 21-year-old stepfather questioned why he was on suicide watch when he went before the Carroll County Magistrate Judge Alton Johnson.

Villa Rica Police said the harsh beating took place in the family's Hickory Falls Apartments in the early morning hours Tuesday.

Even veteran lawmen don't understand.

“It breaks your heart. This is a beautiful child who is defenseless against an adult. It breaks your heart,” said Captain K.L. Shaddix, Villa Rica Police Department.

Police said the child's mother was asleep at the time. When she woke up Tuesday morning, she discovered the child was non-responsive and dialed 911.

Police said the head and bodily injuries were so severe, medics airlifted the child to an Atlanta hospital.

During the court hearing, Richards asked the judge about his preliminary hearing.

Richards: What is that?

Judge: It is a probable cause hearing.

Richards: Does that determine a bond or what is that for?

Judge: Right now, you need to be worried about that child. You don't need to be worried about a bond.

Richards: I agree

Neighbors just can't imagine that a parent would do something like this.

“It is absolutely sad. No one deserves That type of thing, especially when you are a young child,” said Branon Rummel, who lives in apartments.

Richards was charged with cruelty to children, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, as well possession of marijuana.