Crime

Zander, 3, had suspected cigarette, lighter burns along with other injuries

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 Emily Saucier leans of Jimmy Spears upon leaving the courtroom after Nathan McCrory's preliminary hearing, Monday, May 9, 2016.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Emily Saucier leans of Jimmy Spears upon leaving the courtroom after Nathan McCrory's preliminary hearing, Monday, May 9, 2016.

JACKSON COUNTY -- A detective Monday said 3-year-old Zander Saucier had at least 30 wounds to his body, including suspected cigarette and lighter burns to one of his arms and a bleed on his brain, when he was brought by ambulance to Singing River Hospital last month.

The boy's father, Nathan Blake McCrory, 24, is accused of causing the injuries to his son and was in County Court on Monday for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of child abuse and one count of marijuana cultivation.

Judge T. Larry Wilson determined there was enough evidence in the case to be bound over to a grand jury for indictment.

Jackson County Detective Eddie Clark testified at the hearing and talked about some of the other injuries Zander suffered.

The boy, he said, had an injury to his penis that produced blood, had bruising on his body, including his forehead, and suffered from a lacerated liver.

"The child's eyes were swollen shut," he said. "He had wounds to the back of his head. He had one solid bruise across his entire forehead, both arms, legs and buttocks ... and scratch marks to his hands."

McCrory claimed the boy suffered the injuries by falling down the stairs. But, Clark said, an Alabama doctor took a look at the injuries Zander suffered and said they were consistent with child abuse and would not have resulted from a fall.

That and other evidence came out Monday in McCrory's preliminary hearing.

McCrory's family as well as Zander's mother and her supporters attended the hearing.

Nathan Blake McCrory's grandfather and father defend him before and after his initial appearance on felony child abuse charges.

McCory's grandfather, Gary McCrory, smiled, threw up his hand in a fist and said 'yes' to his wife and McCrory's father, each time he thought he'd heard something said that would help McCrory's case.

McCrory's attorney, James L. Farrior III, questioned whether a deputy had a search warrant when he found a marijuana plant growing in a downstairs closet in McCrory's home. The deputy said he did not.

Farrior later questioned whether a deputy had read McCrory his rights when he talked to him prior to his arrest. He said he did not because McCrory was not a suspect when he initially asked him what had happened to his son.

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Zander's mother, Emily Saucier, was seated in a courtroom row right in front of the McCrory family with her relatives. Afterwards, she said, "it's been hard."

Sheriff's deputies launched an investigation shortly after an ambulance brought Zander to Singing River Hospital the evening of April 10.

According to Clark, Zander was not conscious when he brought his son to his mother's place of employment and she called 911 for an ambulance to take him to Singing River Hospital. The hospital's doctors called Jackson County deputies to report the suspected child abuse.

McCrory did not go to the hospital with his son. When deputies got there, he wasn't home, but then found him riding a 4-wheeler with a child.

McCrory's family claims he did not injure the child.

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