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Jefferson City man charged with child abuse

Police are searching for a Jefferson City man charged with child abuse for reportedly shoving a 4-year-old boy into a shower and running freezing cold water on the child.

According to a Jefferson City Police Department probable cause statement, Devin Benke, 26, put the boy in the shower Wednesday after the child had spilled a bowl of cereal during breakfast.

Benke grabbed the boy by the arm and shoved him down several times leaving multiple bruises and a large laceration on the boy’s chin, the report said. Benke then put the boy in the bathtub and turned the shower on the dial set as cold as it would go.

Missouri American Water reported the water line to be at 41.7 degrees on that date.

Benke left the victim in the water for an extended period of time. When Benke returned, he found the boy was cold and unresponsive. Benke tried to warm up the child with warm water and wrapped him in towels.

Benke called the boy’s mother who came home and took the boy to a local hospital where his body temperature was measured at 86 degrees. Court officials said as of Friday the child was expected to make a full recovery.

As soon as Benke heard he was a suspect, he fled the area.

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