'He loved life': Mother speaks out after son tortured to death

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BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Boy tortured to death in Montana to be buried in Texas
The boy's grandparents and uncle allegedly paddled him and deprived him of food.

CLEVELAND, Texas (KTRK) -- A Texas mother is issuing a statement to parents after her son was tortured to death in Montana.

12-year-old James Alexander Hurley will be laid to rest in southeast Texas.

The boy's family said he's from the Cleveland area, where they plan to hold his funeral this weekend.

Alicia Davis, the boy's mother, told ABC13 he has lived in Cleveland until he was 10, when he moved to Montana.

The family said Hurley went to visit his father before he passed away in 2018, but his grandparents kept him in their custody.

Authorities in Montana charged Hurley's grandparents, James Sassar Jr. and Patricia Batts, and his 14-year-old uncle with deliberate homicide. Officials are accusing the trio of torturing the boy and recording it.

ORIGINAL STORY: Boy tortured to death in Montana to be buried in Texas

According to reports, the three regularly abused Hurley by beating him with a wooden paddle and locking up food to deprive him.

Hurley's aunt, Misty Burks, told ABC13 that her family in Texas, including Hurley's mother, tried to get him home.

Davis sent ABC13 the following statement:

"First off, I have no comment regarding the case.

Alex was a fun-loving child when he lived down here. Not saying he was perfect, but what child is? Alex was an all-American boy, a true Texan. He loved life and helping others.
Parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, teachers, neighbors, friends and family please talk to your kids or the children in your life that are dear to your heart about child abuse. Our kids see and hear things we adults don't. We as a nation need to stop turning a blind eye when it comes to any child's well-being. Evil has many faces as we see now, grandparents, love, kisses cuddles... not this that happened to Alex. And remember, when a child says something about a monster at home... that monster may just be someone in that home abusing that child in some sick way!!!"

The video above is from previous reporting.

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