Suspected child abuser behind bars

Devin Benke was arrested in Columbia on a felony warrant for assault child abuse.

A Jefferson City man charged with child abuse appeared in court Wednesday for his arraignment.

Devib Benke is accused of abusing his girlfriend's 4-year-old son. He was arrested for violently punishing the child because he dumped his bowl of cereal, according to court records.

He's due in court again next week for a criminal setting hearing. Benke has been assigned a public defender.

Devin Benke was arrested Monday night in Columbia.

On the morning of February 6, Benke got angry with the boy after he spilled his bowl of cereal in a home in the 2200 block of Melody Drive in Jefferson City, according to court records.

Benke then reportedly grabbed the child by the arm and pushed him down over and over again, leaving several bruises and a large cut on the boy's chin, which was detailed in the records.

Next, Benke put the boy in a bathtub and turned the shower on with the dial set as cold as it could be, which Missouri American Water said was 41.7 degrees that day, according to court documents.

Benke left the 4-year-old in the ice-cold water for a long time, although records do not specify how long, and when Benke returned, court records indicated the boy was unresponsive.

Benke told investigators he tried to warm the child up with warm water and towels, and then called the boy's mother and cleaned the bathroom, records detailed.

The boy's mom told police she came home and immediately took her son to the hospital, where he was reported to have a body temperature of 86 degrees, which is considered life threatening.

The boy was treated and released from the hospital. Police tell us he is doing fine.

Officers arrested Benke Monday evening for a felony warrant for probation warrant with no bond set and a felony warrant for assault child abuse with a bond of $75,000.

Benke remains in the Cole County Jail.