DELAWARE CO., PA (CNN / KYW) – A Southeast Pennsylvania community is in shock after a toddler is beaten to death.
Police have arrested the boy’s mother and her boyfriend, charging them each with third-degree murder.
This woman lived next door to 30-year-old Shannon Matthews and her two kids – a six-year-old and two-year-old, Mason – for several years.
She didn’t want to give us her name or show her face, but she said she heard screaming on a nightly basis, and often called the police. The last time she called the police was just days before Mason’s death, after he was doused in seasoning salt.
“It broke my heart. It really broke my heart. It’s real hard for me.”
Little Mason’s sweet face is what this next-door neighbor sees as she recounts the abuse she heard.
“You’d hear it through the walls. The walls are very thin. She threatened the baby constantly. He would let out blood-curdling screams. She called him some foul, filthy names, and she would say, ‘I’m going to kill you.'”
Matthews and her boyfriend, 31-year-old Daniel Grafton, are now charged with Mason’s murder, which the D.A. says is the result of brutal beatings.
Jack Whelan, Delaware County District Attorney said: “this child dies as a result of bleeding internally because of so many beatings, so many punches, so many pinches. It was all over his body, including his genital area.”
Mason’s mother worked in the doctor’s office below her Norwood apartment.
On February third, Grafton brought Mason downstairs in a blanket and said he had stopped breathing in the bathtub.
But, when first responders arrived, his body was cold and his bruises were evident.
The neighbor added: “I wished I had known, because I see myself bending down and picking him up, you know, and grabbing the five-year-old and run in here, lock the door, call the police.”
The Department of Child and Youth Services is involved, and they were checking in on the family from time to time. Grafton and Matthews are now facing third-degree murder charges, amongst many others.