The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 29, 2013

UPDATE: Couple charged with abuse of 11-year-old boy

By Jean Cole

— A Limestone County couple accused of leaving welts on an 11-year-old boy’s back and shoulder with a belt has been charged with child abuse, records show.

On Monday, Limestone County Sheriff’s Investigator Johnny Morell charged both Lorie Lynn Ayres, 33, and Steven Ray Wornkey, 36, both of 27831 McKee Road in Toney, with child abuse, which is a felony.

Chief Investigator Capt. Stanley McNatt said the 11-year-old had telephoned 911 on Sunday to report that his mother and her boyfriend were abusing him at their home on McKee Road.

“The boy left the phone off the hook, and a dispatcher could hear a female and she could hear a boy being struck with what later turned out to be a belt,” McNatt said.

Deputy Dale Townsend responded to the home, where a small amount of marijuana was found, McNatt said. Morell and Lt. Josh McLaughlin, a drug investigator, were called to the scene, along with the Department of Human Resources, he said.

“The investigator found welts across the boy’s back and shoulder where he had been struck repeatedly with a belt, and a large welt across his back where he had been shoved into a dresser,” McNatt said.

Ayres and Wornkey were arrested Sunday on charges of second-degree possession of marijuana.

After conducting an investigation, Morell served the warrants for child abuse Monday.

Ayres was released Monday night on both the marijuana and child abuse charges after posting bail of $6,000, records show.

Wornkey remains jailed.

DHR placed the 11-year-old and two older children in the home in the custody of their grandmother, who lives out of state, McNatt said.