RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (AP) — A 6-year-old Texas boy whose father allegedly carved a pentagram on the child's back is out of the hospital and doing well given the circumstances, police said Thursday.
The boy seems to be doing OK, while his mother is in "a very emotional state" and has asked for privacy for their family, Richland Hills police detective Tye Bell said. The child's wounds didn't require stitches and he was released from a Fort Worth hospital Wednesday night, police said.
Some medical experts say the boy may need counseling to overcome the traumatic incident.
Brent Troy Bartel, 39, remained jailed Thursday on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in lieu of $500,000 bond. Police say they plan to seek a mental evaluation.
Bartel called 911 early Wednesday and said he had shed "innocent blood" and inscribed a pentagram on his son because it was "a holy day," according to a recording of the brief call. It is not clear to which faith he was referring. Wednesday's date was 12-12-12, a once-in-a-century event.
The case has been turned over to the district attorney, and investigators cannot reveal what, if anything, Bartel has told them — such as explaining his actions or why he used the pentagram symbol, police Sgt. Nathan Stringer said.
Dr. Peter Stavinoha, manager of psychiatric services at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, said children who endure such an injury are more than likely to need support, whether from professional counseling or family, friends and church.
"Deliberate abuse or harm breaks trust and the bond between a child and adult," said Stavinoha, who was not involved with the boy's case.
In cases where the parent or other adult who caused the injury is sent to jail, the child still may not feel assured that he or she won't be hurt again, Stavinoha said. Also, when an injury leaves a scar, it becomes a permanent reminder of the traumatic event and can attract attention and questions, he said.
"Trauma is going to stay with a person, but you want to get to a point where you acknowledge it and set it aside," he said.