Rowan Co. couple arrested after man abuses, tortures girlfriend’s children, authorities say

According to authorities, the man abused and tortured two children on multiple occasions.
A mother's boyfriend allegedly abused her 2-year-old and 9-year-old children.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 11:37 PM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A Rowan County couple has been arrested after a mother’s boyfriend allegedly abused and tortured her two children.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) responded to a call on April 8, 2022 regarding the well-being of a 2-year-old child. According to RCSO, the child was suffering from facial injuries, possibly caused by abuse.

“When deputies went to the residence and got the mother and the children to come out the 2-year-old actually had a bloody nose at that time,” said Major John Sifford.

Following the investigation, authorities determined that the boyfriend of the children’s mother, William Joseph Elliot Jr., 27, had abused and tortured both children on multiple occasions.

The boy was taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center with injuries not life-threatening.

According to the report, the child’s mother, Patricia Leigh Hall, allowed Elliott to slap the 2-year-old child leaving marks on the child’s head. Elliott is also accused of holding the 2-year-old down in the bathtub while spraying the child’s face with water. He also allegedly bruised the child’s mouth, jaws, and face, which led to a bloody nose that deputies reported seeing when they visited the house.

Elliott also is accused of stuffing rags and cut-off shirts into the young child’s mouth as punishment.

RCSO detectives along with the Department of Social Services launched an investigation into the situation, temporarily removing the toddler and his 9-year-old sibling from the home.

On April 29, Elliot and Hall, 25, were arrested.

Elliot is charged with felony child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse, and assault on a child under the age of 12. He is being held under a $500,000 secured bond.

Hall is being held under a $50,000 secured bond and is facing several counts of misdemeanor child abuse and failure to report a crime against a juvenile.

“They expected the very worst from the abuser, but they expect their mother or caregiver, it’s their job to protect them,” said Beth McKeithan. McKeithan is a child abuse expert, the former director of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan, and currently serves as the Executive Director of The Dove House in Statesville. “We’re all mandated reporters as adults but I think it’s important to remember if it’s a neighboring child, if it’s your own child, if you see something, say something and we are really trying to hone in on making sure these kids are safe.”

And why wouldn’t a parent report abuse to their own child? McKeithan says there are reasons.

“They may be in fear, there may be some financial dependency, so it’s really important if anybody is in contact with any of these families to just report and let the authorities step in and investigate and make sure everything is okay,” McKeithan added.

Related: College professor charged with felony child abuse of adopted 6-week-old son

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