New Jersey Police were forced to respond to a horrific incident of child abuse that resulted in the arrest of six adults who were present during the ordeal. The three-year-old child who was abused has since been removed from the home and remains in protective custody.

The police department was alerted to the horror when a public preschool in Newark contacted them. Staff at the preschool were concerned about the three-year-old who often showed up to their school with bruises, scrapes and other injuries. One day, he showed up with such extensive injuries that the child was brought to the hospital.

Police quickly confronted the boy’s mother, 43-year-old Natacha Smith. According to police records, the Newark resident lived in an apartment building with five other children and five other adults. The overcrowded apartment residents all participated in the brutal punishment of the three-year-old boy, so all the adults are currently facing charges. The remaining children have all been taken into protective custody.

According to police, the boy’s horror began as a punishment but quickly turned into torturous abuse. All six adults took turns berating the three-year-old, spanking him with a belt, punching him with closed fists and even burning him with scalding hot water. As a result, he sustained severe bruises and burns on his face, back and stomach.

The adults who participated in the abuse are all being charged with both aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Natacha Smith, Patricia Gamarra, Mary Buchan, Patricia Buchan, Bridget Buchan and Homer Searcy are all currently being held in jail. The three-year-old has since been released from the hospital.