|A boy, 11, is fighting for his life after being badly beaten at an Etobicoke highrise early Friday. (CHRIS DOUCETTE/QMI Agency)
TORONTO – A severely beaten 11-year-old boy is fighting for his life and his mother is behind bars after a brutal attack with bizarre religious overtones at an Etobicoke highrise.
Toronto Police received a chilling 911 call around 1:15 a.m. Friday for an assault in progress, reportedly from a young boy inside a 12th-floor apartment whose voice was down to a whisper.
"A woman could be heard screaming in the background and the caller claimed she was beating a boy," Const. Victor Kwong said Friday.
He said officers arrived at the highrise and discovered an 11-year-old boy suffering from "severe trauma" inside the apartment.
Reports suggest a refrigerator was dropped on the boy's head and he was found lying face down out on the balcony.
But Kwong would only confirm the youngster was rushed to hospital with life-threatening head injuries.
Witnesses said the woman in the apartment, later identified as the boy's mom, was exhibiting strange behaviour.
Samuel Jeon, who lives down the hall, heard her "yelling" and "screaming" inside apartment 1210 and his family was "freaked out."
"It went on for quite a while," Jeon said. "And then I heard her reciting the Lord's prayer."
Jeon was still following the commotion as cops "stormed" the neighbouring apartment and arrested the woman.
"When the police finally apprehended her, she was struggling and cursing at them," he said.
A second young woman was also arrested.
Two other kids, aged six and eight, were inside the apartment at the time. But it's unclear if they are also offspring of the woman.
Kwong said they have been placed in the care of family members.
"One of the kids told police, 'She's possessed by the devil,'" Jeon recalled overhearing.
Aziz Azeem, another resident, saw the pair as they were taken away.
And he said the boy's mom appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
"She was smiling and blowing kisses from the back of the police car," Azeem said, adding it was "kind of odd" she was all smiles while her son was badly hurt.
The second woman seemed "distressed" and "nervous," he said.
The unidentified woman was later released without charges, Kwong said.
However, the boy's 32-year-old mom is now charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and failing to provide the necessities of life.
In order to protect the boy's identity, Kwong said the accused woman's name won't be released.
She remains in custody awaiting a court appearance Saturday.
-- With files from Shawn Jeffords