Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ryon Smith

Sometime on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in Cahokia, Illinois (a small town of 16,000 people), Ryon Smith, age six, died as a result of beatings that he had suffered over the course of at least several weeks, if not months. An autopsy is pending. Although Ryon was living with his mother, Starr Lohman, during this period, the likely assailant was her live-in boyfriend, Lee Crutchfield. Both Starr Lohman and Lee Crutchfield have been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Starr Lohman's father, Robert, is now serving a life sentence for murder at the Jefferson City Correctional Center (see below). He went to prison in 1982, when Starr was one year old.

A long-time neighbor and family friend from St. Louis said that Starr was trapped in an abusive relationship in St. Louis, with a different man, other than Lee Crutchfield, whose name and race she did not give, and that this was the reason that she fled to Cahokia, Illinois with Lee Crutchfield in October of 2005. This former neighbor said that Starr often had bruises when she saw her, and the last time that she saw her she had two black eyes. These injuries were evidently not inflicted by Lee Crutchfield, but by the man she fled St. Louis to get away from. Lee Crutchfield was Starr Lohman's new boyfriend, and he was supposed to help her get away from the abusive man in St. Louis. [Comment: It looks as though she jumped from the frying pan into the fire.]

This is not the first time that Lee Crutchfield has been violent and abusive. No less than five people have filed for orders of protection against Crutchfield since 1995, including his own older brother, Gregory, who claimed that Lee had threatened him and that he feared for his safety because Lee was using drugs and was unstable.

The following report came from the St. Louis Post Dispatch of December 28, 2005:

In April of 1995, Crutchfield's former girlfriend asked a judge for an order of protection. She said they'd had three physical arguments in the last three years, "but he has threatened me many times."

Two weeks later, Crutchfield agreed to stay away.

Gregory Crutchfield filed a request in May 2000 for a protective order against his younger brother, accusing Lee Crutchfield of making threatening telephone calls. Gregory Crutchfield wrote in his petition that his brother had been using drugs and was unstable. The protective order was dropped when deputies couldn't find Crutchfield to serve him notice.

That September, a 24-year-old woman asked for an order of protection against Crutchfield a year after they separated. Crutchfield abused her in 1998, she said, and called her repeatedly. She dropped her request in October 2002.

In May 2002, another woman filed a request for protection against Crutchfield. She wrote that he "put his hands on me more than once" and "he has also bit me." The order was dropped when neither Crutchfield nor the woman showed up for a court hearing.

In September 2004, a woman said that Crutchfield cursed at her and choked her for a couple of seconds before smacking her in the mouth, causing a swollen lip. That order was also dismissed when Crutchfield couldn't be found.

The same woman obtained an order of protection from Crutchfield in December 2004.
Ryon's mother, Starr Lohman, 24, and her live-in boyfriend, Lee D. Crutchfield, were charged Tuesday with three counts each of first-degree murder in Ryon's death. Lohman's relatives say that she is innocent. Crutchfield, who was not at home with Ryon and Lohman when authorities were called, told reporters after his arraignment that he was not responsible for the boy's death.

Lohman and Crutchfield are being held at the St. Clair County Jail in Belleville on $1 million bond each.
The Story below was reported by KSDK News Channel 5, Television Station:
In a case that the coroner calls one of the worst cases of child abuse he's ever seen, a woman and her boyfriend are charged in the beating death of a 6-year-old boy.

Ryan Smith, 6, was beaten to death on Christmas day. Medical examiners say nearly every part of his body was bruised.

Police arrived at the home in the 1300 block of Upper Cahokia Road to find the Ryan's lifeless body on the floor of a bedroom. Investigators say he lived a "horrific existence" and was at times kept in a closet.

His mother, Starr Lohman, 24, is charged with three counts of first degree murder. Police say she called 911 Christmas day.

Her boyfriend, Lee David Crutchfield, 33, is also charged with three counts of first degree murder. The couple moved from St. Louis to Cahokia, Illinois in October.

A 20-month-old child that was also living at the home is now in the care of other family members.


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