Two people have been arrested and face charges relating to the death of a Laurens County 2-year-old. William Ryan Looper and Jessica Blake Smith were arrested Saturday after deputies responded to a call about an unresponsive child on the 100 block of Country Lane in Clinton.
Sheriff Reynolds of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department called it “one of the worst I’ve ever seen” in his time with the department. The Solicitor’s Office, in conjunction with Laurens County investigators, are formalizing the case against the pair for the murder of Smith’s infant son. “We are on a path to ensure that things are followed and done in a matter that this child will get his justice,” said Sheriff Reynolds.
It was discovered the child was molested and beaten before his death, according to Sheriff Reynolds. “These animals, who are possessed with pure evil, have no place in our society. There is no rehabilitation for people this evil” he said to local press. “I’m sure God has a place for these broken individuals, as he does for these precious children.”
Neighbors told reporters that the victim lived at home with two other children, ages 6 and 7, and never noticed anything out of the ordinary before Smith and Looper’s arrests. Tommy Kitchens, who lived near the pair, said the toddler’s death was a shock. “You don’t ever thing that something like that is going to happen next door to you and then you wonder if there was something that you could have said or done, that could have kept it from happening.” Kitchens said.
The Sheriff’s Office has offered psychological and counseling services for investigators involved with the brutal case. “Unfortunately I have had to work many homicide cases over the years, some of which involved children, however this is by far the worst thing I’ve ever seen. This incident brought tears to the eyes of our investigators and what these individuals did to this child is unimaginable!” Captain Rober Wilkie said in a press release.
Looper is facing charges of first degree murder, two counts of unlawful conduct towards a minor, and criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Smith is charged with homicide by child abuse and two counts of unlawful conduct towards a minor. Sheriff Reynolds notes that Looper has been previously convicted of larceny, burglary, breaking and entering, and fraud. The investigation against Looper and Smith is ongoing.