JACKSON COUNTY -- A Jackson County man accused of critically injuring his 3-year-old son is set for a preliminary hearing Monday on felony charges of child abuse and marijuana cultivation.
Nathan Blake McCrory, 24, is accused of burning son Zander Saucier's arm and beating him so severely that it collapsed the boy's lung and left a laceration in his liver, according to affidavits filed in the case. In addition, Jackson County investigators said McCrory was arrested on the cultivation charge because deputies found marijuana growing at his home.
Zander spent the better part of a week on a ventilator at USA Women's and Children's Hospital in Mobile before his release.
On the evening of April 10, sheriff's deputies said McCrory brought an unconscious Zander to his mother's home and told her Zander had fallen down a flight of stairs. McCrory left, Sheriff Mike Ezell said, but his mother dialed 911 and an ambulance rushed Zander to Singing River Hospital for treatment. Singing River Hospital officials called Jackson County sheriff's investigators to report that Zander's injuries were not consistent with a fall.
Zander was later airlifted to the Alabama hospital for further treatment. He was released on April 12, a day after the staff in the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit applauded the boy when he was able to walk on his own for the first time since he suffered the injuries.
Zander's mother, Emily Saucier, said the best day she had with her son in the hospital was the day he woke up and reached out to her for a hug.
The community has rallied around the family to offer support since the incident.
Since Zander's been home, Bikers Against Child Abuse have stopped to visit the boy. In addition, he was invited to throw the first pitch at a Harrison County Central High School playoff game.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family.
In addition, several local businesses have reached out to raise money to help the family with expenses and churches have offered their prayers.
Donations can also be made in the name of Zander Saucier at The First bank branch at O'Neal Road and U.S. 49.
Team Zander shirts have been offered for sale as well.