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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2006
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Boy, 5, already dead when mom reported stolen car, police say

GADSDEN (AP) — A 5-year-old boy who became the focus of an Amber Alert already was dead from a beating, his body apparently buckled in the back seat, when his mother claimed he was in a car that was stolen, authorities said.

Etowah County Sheriff James Hayes said a preliminary autopsy showed the child, Geontae Glass, suffered blunt force trauma in blows to his abdomen and back, and probably did not die immediately. Hayes said the beating apparently occurred after the boy brought home a bad progress report from kindergarten Friday.

"That's what the mother told us," Hayes said.

He said the child was last seen alive Saturday afternoon at a barbecue restaurant in East Gadsden that the mother's boyfriend, Kevin Andrew Towles, 31, either owns or co-owns. He said investigators believe the boy was fatally beaten by Towles at his Mountainboro home later that weekend and was dead, buckled in the back seat of the car, when the mother reported it stolen Monday morning in Albertville.

"We believe the child was already deceased and that it (the car theft) was staged to cover up the crime," Hayes said.

The mother, Shalinda Glass, 25, of Rainbow City, was charged Tuesday with hindering prosecution, and Towles was charged with capital murder in the boy's death.

Authorities said Wednesday that no additional arrests had been made.

No domestic calls

Hayes said he wasn't aware of any complaints of domestic violence by Towles against the mother or her two children, but he said investigators "believe there was abuse that was ongoing. This wasn't an isolated incident."

The child's body was found in the trunk of a 1994 Nissan Altima that the mother had reported stolen at Albertville. Witnesses said a man got out of a pickup and sped off in the car as the pickup drove off.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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