A Bristow couple, including a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, was arrested Monday on charges that they repeatedly abused their 8-year-old adopted son.
Prince William County Police say that Matthew and Amy Kathleen Sweeney both face charges of child abuse and contributing the the delinquency of a minor after their son, who was adopted by the couple five years ago, was found by a neighbor with severe bruising all over his body.
Matthew Sweeney is an active duty U.S. Navy lieutenant commander. Neighbors say that the Sweeneys came to the Bristow neighborhood from Connecticut.
Debbie Morgal says when she saw the little boy with the sweet face and the battered arms and body, she knew she had to help him. She says he had bruises, some on his back.
Morgal went across the street when the 8-year-old boy showed up at her neighbors Barbara and Ron Kramer's home before one Tuesday. They had never seen the well-groomed child before and brought him inside.
“I immediately called 911 and explained to him that we have this little boy who said he was lost,” Ron Kramer says.
Police say that the boy showed up to a house in the 9200 block of Glen Meadow Lane in Bristow.
When authorities arrived, they found the boy in overall good health, but they say the bruises were consistent with repeated physical abuse. Authorities then took him into protective custody.
At 5:30 Tuesday morning, authorities say that the boy's mother, Amy, reported him missing. However, police say that an investigation revealed that both she and Matthew had abused their son earlier Monday, prompting him to run away, and that the abuse was happening on a consistent basis.
Both Matthew, 39, and Amy, 41, were arrested without incident. Both are free on $20,000 bond.
“It appeared based on the injuries the child sustained that it had been on a constant basis,” says officer Jonathan Perok with the Prince William County Police.
Police say that the 8-year-old was the only adopted child in the family and the only one who they suspect was abused. Officials say the case against the Sweeneys includes statements from those who say they witnessed long-term violence against the boy.