CHARGED WITH TORTURE
June 8, 2008 -- A Brooklyn couple was charged yesterday in the torture of a 3-year-old boy who died from his injuries, officials said.
Nymeen Cheatham, 30, the boy's guardian, and her boyfriend, Lemar Martin, 25, were hauled in to the 81st Precinct station house for questioning after Kyle Smith, badly beaten and burned with cigarettes, was rushed from his Patchen Avenue home Friday night and died of his injuries.
The couple, who'd had several run-ins with cops over the toddler, was charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a minor, police said.
The medical examiner ruled the tot's death a homicide yesterday and the pair may face additional charges.
Kyle suffered from "multiple blunt impact injuries. . all over his body," according to a spokeswoman.
Cops had previously responded to at least three incidents involving Kyle and Cheatham before the child's death.
But the run-ins involved custody disputes over care of the boy, and no arrests were made, police said.
Cheatham said she called 911 after the Kyle wouldn't wake up Friday morning. But investigators said statements she and Martin gave "were hazy."
Neighbors said they were told by cops that the child had cigarette burns on his body and a broken pelvis. Police were looking into evidence the child had been sodomized, sources said.
Cheatham, who is friendly with Kyle's biological mother, had custody of the toddler for about a year, neighbors said.
Kyle's birth mother had a drug problem, and the courts removed the boy from her care after he showed signs of neglect, Cheatham told friends.
Administration for Children's Services spokeswoman Sheila Stainback said the Kyle was never in foster care but the agency was investigating the case.
She wouldn't comment on what involvement the ACS had in the transfer of Kyle from his mother to Cheatham.
His father lived out of state, but visited the boy on weekends and was trying to take custody, said Cheatham's building superintendent, Gail McNally.
Additional reporting by Patrick Gallahue
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