Polk sheriff: Couple 'tortured' boy to death

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A Davenport couple has been arrested following the death of a 2-year-old boy, deputies say, in a case that Sheriff Grady Judd said was one of the worst cases of child abuse he's seen in a while.

"This baby, this beautiful child, was tortured," Judd said.  "And they sat there and watched this baby die."

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested 26-year-olds Shannon Short and her boyfriend, Christian Thompson. Short is the mother of the young victim, Harley Don Hiatt Jr., who would have turned 3 in October.

Both lived in the 100 block of Memorial Park Avenue.

Sheriff Judd said Thompson beat the boy repeatedly, leading to his death, while Short was aware of the abuse and sometimes encouraged it. 

The sheriff spent 30 minutes detailing graphic abuse that detectives say the boy suffered at the hands of the pair. He said Short even documented some of the abuse and injuries with his cell phone camera.

Thompson faces a murder charge, as well as aggravated child abuse and drug possession.

Short faces an aggravated manslaughter charge, as well as failure to report child abuse. 

"It's not often that you find two people that can do that to a child," Judd offered.