TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Less than 24 hours after a boy went missing, authorities arrested a male suspect who they say sexually assaulted and brutally beat the child.
The Mineral City community is still reeling after an 11-year-old boy was found brutally beaten this week.
Randy Vento, 31, was charged with felonious assault Thursday after a call about the missing boy in the village of Mineral City around 4:53 p.m. led to the man's arrest. Tuscarawas County Sheriff's deputies learned that the boy had a cell phone and found the phone, but not the boy.
With the help of neighbors in the area of Clay Street, deputies found the boy brutally beaten and bleeding heavily from the head with a hooded sweatshirt tied around his neck on an abandoned railroad bed. He was transported to Akron Children's Hospital, where he remains.
Jessica Dallas' daughter played with the boy, and she was a part of the search efforts to find him after he went missing Thursday.
"It's heartbreaking, it's really heartbreaking. We've been devastated for days. It's scary, and now the park's empty, kids aren't out and about. It's sad," said Dallas.
Dallas says the community is holding a prayer vigil at a local church on Sunday night.
There's also an account on GoFundMe to help the boy's family offset medical costs. The community has already raised $5,700 toward its $15,000 goal.
The sheriff's office asked residents to be on the lookout for a dark-skinned male riding a bicycle, and after a passerby called to report a male matching the description running out of the woods, Vento was arrested and charged. Vento's last residence is from Florida, but authorities said he's been homeless for a couple years.
His bond is set at $1 million.
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