A 20-year-old Forsyth County man remained in custody Tuesday in connection with the beating death of a 6-year-old special needs child.
Eder Acosta is being held without bond at the Forsyth County Jail on multiple charges, including felony murder, aggravated battery and cruelty to children.
The child, Bryan Guzman-Moreno, died Thursday. Forsyth County Sheriff’s investigators arrested Acosta on Saturday morning.
“The child was actually beaten to death, physically beaten to death,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Gene Moss.
Acosta, who investigators described as the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother, Laura Moreno, is not believed to have used a weapon in the attack.
He reportedly beat the child after dropping the mother off at work about 6 a.m. Thursday, according to authorities. The attack occurred in the family’s home off Valley Lane, northwest of Cumming.
Guzman-Moreno was reportedly in cardiac arrest by 6:30 a.m., when he arrived Northside Hospital-Forsyth.
Acosta drove him to the hospital, but Moss said the story Acosta gave hospital officials was inconsistent with the child’s injuries.
The child was flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he later died as a result of blunt force trauma. Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Huggins said the child had internal injuries.
Investigators said Moreno’s two other sons, ages 1 and 11, were home during the incident, but were not hurt.
Also living in the house are several other family members, one of whom watched the other children while Acosta drove to the hospital.
The two boys are in custody of the Department of Family and Children Services. The 1-year-old is the son of Acosta and Moreno, investigators said. Guzman-Moreno and the 11-year-old have a different father.
Huggins said the boy’s mother was questioned, but will not face charges.
Also questioned were family members living in the Valley Lane home, including at least one uncle of the boy. Huggins said there were no witnesses to the incident.
Guzman-Moreno was in the special education program at Sawnee Elementary School, not far from where he lived.
School district officials said the boy was a rising first-grader.
Neighbors on Valley Lane, a quiet, tree-lined street dotted with older houses and mobile homes, were surprised to learn of the child's death.
Rene Cvek, who lives next door, said he did not know the family well, but had seen the boy waiting for the school bus last year.
"I don’t complain [about] these people because it’s quiet," said Cvek, who is originally from the Czech Republic.
"Many times you hear children play and make noise, and these children, it’s quiet. It’s no problems. And these people also, there's no loud music, no big parties."
Cvek recalled that his wife gave the child some ice cream one day about two months ago.
"But he [didn’t] talk too much," he said. "He was a nice small boy."
The neighbors were on friendly terms, though there was a language barrier.
"I don’t speak very good English and these people speak Spanish," Cvek said. "... A couple of times he needed tools for cars, and I help him, I gave him tools."