Mom, stepdad in Detroit charged in death of boy, abuse of another

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit couple was charged with murder and other crimes Wednesday in the death of a 5-year-old boy.

Ethan Belcher and other children were beaten while living in a house of squalor, assistant prosecutor Matthew Makepeace told a magistrate.

“The alleged facts in this case are extremely alarming,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said while announcing charges.

Ethan was the son of Valeria Hamilton and stepson of Shane Shelton, both 27. They were ordered to jail without bond after hearing the charges, which include abuse of a 3-year-old boy.

Ethan was taken to a hospital Sunday where he was pronounced dead.

It wasn’t immediately known if Hamilton and Shelton have lawyers who could comment on the allegations.

An aunt, Ashley Belcher, told Detroit-area TV stations that child-welfare authorities were told about problems at the home.