San Diego Sailor And Girlfriend Accused Of Abusing And Torturing 5-Year-Old Son

news
Benjamin Whitten, 33, and Jeryn Johnson, 25, were arrested on Aug. 15, 2017.
Murrieta police department photo

A San Diego Navy sailor and his girlfriend were arrested on suspicion of child abuse and torture after his malnourished 5-year-old son was found gravely injured in their Murrieta, California home Tuesday, authorities said.


The child remains hospitalized in grave condition, Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad said Wednesday. Police did not say how the boy’s injuries were inflicted.

Detectives arrested Benjamin Whitten, 33, and his live-in girlfriend, Jeryn Johnson, 25, on Tuesday night.

A Navy spokesman confirmed Whitten, the boy’s father, works as a nuclear machinist's mate at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Detachment at Naval Base Point Loma.

Police and medics responding to a 911 call about a child in need of medical aid found the boy suffering from severe injuries and malnutrition in the house on Verdun Lane, east of Interstate 15, about 10 a.m. Tuesday. The boy was airlifted to a hospital in San Diego County, Conrad said in a statement.

Police later served a search warrant at the home, where they encountered “extremely unsanitary” living conditions, Conrad said, adding that animal control officers removed 11 dogs, four cats and two fish from the house. Feces and urine were found throughout the home.

Johnson, according to her Facebook page, fosters dogs for an animal rescue organization.

Conrad said evidence in the home and statements from Whitten and Johnson led detectives to suspect the couple is responsible for the boy’s “dire condition.”

Whitten’s Facebook page is peppered with photos of him and his son — taken at a Naval base, petting zoo, playground and in their home.

On multiple occasions, Whitten took to Facebook to laud Johnson as a great co-parent and express his gratitude toward her. In Oct. 27, 2015, he wrote: “Jeryn, it's been so amazing to watch Feno's love for you grow. I love seeing him follow you around, telling you he loves you most. You're doing a great job raising him. I know it's not easy sometimes. Thank you.”

In a post on Nov. 16, 2015, he said: “Thank you babe for taking care of Feno day in and day out. Our little boy adores you 100%. ... I still can't believe we can count on one hand the amount of times he's been to daycare. I know it's hard for you to leave each other's side.”

Following the news of the arrests, scores of people flooded Whitten and Johnson’s Facebook pages with ruthless comments about the alleged abuse.

The Los Angles Times contributed to this report.

———

©2017 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

Read More Show Less

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

Read More Show Less
Pearl Harbor survivor Lauren Bruner attends the dual interment of fellow USS Arizona survivors John D. Anderson, boatswain's mate 2nd class, and Clarendon R. Hetrick, seaman 1st class, at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Somers Steelman)

Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.

The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.

Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.

It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.

More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.

Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.

Read More Show Less