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Vigil held for murdered 2-year-old

The Laurens County Sheriff's Office said an investigation is underway after a two-year-old was found dead at a reside...

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 12:15 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2018 12:15 PM

The Laurens County Sheriff's Office said an investigation is underway after a two-year-old was found dead at a residence in Clinton.

Deputies said they responded to residence on Country Lane on Saturday and found the child deceased inside the home.

According to deputies, the child appeared to have been brutally beaten and had apparent injuries all over their body. The sheriff's office said the child was sexually molested before death.

The coroner identified the child as Brantley Smith.

Deputies said the child's mother, Jessica Blake Smith and her boyfriend, William Ryan Looper, were arrested in connection with the child's death.

Sheriff Don Reynolds said Looper has previously been arrested for break-ins.

Two other children, six and seven years old, were also at the residence, Sheriff Reynolds said. They have been taken to a hospital for examination.

"These animals, who are possessed with pure evil, have no place in our society. There is no rehabilitation for people this evil. I'm sure God has a place for these broken individuals, as he does for these precious children," Sheriff Reynolds said.

Deputies said Looper has been charged with murder, criminal sexual conduct with a minor 1st degree and two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. Smith was charged with homicide by child abuse and two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child.

A vigil for Brantley was held on Sunday at the Laurens County Sheriff's Office.

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