LAKE WORTH – Underneath the young boy's shirt, scars and bruises stretched across his body.
That's what a Palm Beach County sheriff's detective discovered on Thursday before he arrested the boy's mother, 23-year-old Suzy Alexis of Lake Worth, on charges of child cruelty and aggravated battery.
The investigation started with a call to the Florida Department of Children & Family Services. The boy had a deep cut on his chest, the caller said, claiming the mother did it.
A sheriff's detective then met with the boy and asked how he got the cut.
"Mommy did it with a belt," the boy said.
The detective asked, "How long [ago]?"
"A couple of days," the boy said. The detective then looked at the child's back, sides and torso and noticed many scars and bruises.
Police are not releasing the boy's name or age.
Alexis admitted to the detective in an interview that she hit her son with the belt, police said. But, she said, he didn't bleed.
She hit her son because he wouldn't stop jumping around, according to police.
In the kitchen of Alexis' home in the 6000 block of Arcade Court, the boy jumped in between several glass gallon bottles of water Alexis stored there because of construction in another part of the house. She yelled at the boy to stop, Alexis said, but he wouldn't stop.
So, Alexis lashed her son with a belt. It was his belt, deputies said.
She never intended to hurt the boy, she said. She wanted to discipline him, discourage him from jumping in the kitchen again.
Alexis then explained the cut across the boy's chest: He kept moving around to avoid the belt, and one lash accidentally cut into his chest.
The lash was so hard, Alexis said, it broke skin.
"It was not that serious," she said, answering why she didn't call paramedics for help.
Deputies handcuffed Alexis and booked her into the Palm Beach County Jail with no bond.