A judge has declined to grant bond to a man charged with abusing a 4-year-old Mid-Michigan boy weeks before his death.
The decision Tuesday means Anthony Bennett will remain in jail while his case moves through Bay City federal court.
A prosecutor revealed that the body of Carnel Chamberlain was buried and badly burned when found by authorities last week. No one has been charged in Carnel Chamberlain's death. But authorities last week arrested Bennett and charged him with assault after finding the boy's body under the house.
Bennett lived with Carnel and the boy's mother in a house on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian reservation in Mount Pleasant.
Jaimee Chamberlain says Bennett was in charge of watching Carnel while she worked on June 21. According to the two-page criminal complaint, Jaimee Chamberlain told the FBI that she saw her son with a bruised and swollen face as well as a cut lip in late May or early June. She said he had been struck by Bennett when she was away from the home.
A few days later, she saw Bennett pick up her son by the neck and drop him before dragging him into a room by his foot, according to the court document.
It wasn't known why Jaimee Chamberlain allowed her son to be in her boyfriend's company if she believed he was abusing the boy. She also told authorities that she didn't feel safe because Bennett had threatened her life in the past.
"I'm relieved that he's still behind bars," said Joann Chamberlain, Carnel's grandmother. "I'm thanking God [for that]."
The judge said there was no way to verify that Bennett wouldn't be a flight risk or try to contact some of the people listed as witnesses in the case. The 20-year-old man is only charged with assault, and has not yet been charged with a crime relating to Carnel's disappearance or death.
Kevin Chamberlain - Jaimee's cousin, a family spokesman and the tribe's former chief - said Bennett had been in his cousin's life for about seven months. He said the family believed Bennett had a "troubled past" and that he came off as "a kind of wannabe thug."
"We have no choice but to believe he had something to do with it," Kevin Chamberlain said of Carnel's death. "All eyes and arrows point right to him."
Carnel's great-aunt, Esther Chatfield, 58, lives next door to the home. She said she and her husband became Jaimee Chamberlain's foster parents when Chamberlain was 8 years old.
"My husband and I are just destroyed by this," Chatfield said.
Meanwhile, a family spokesman says it could be weeks before a funeral is held for the 4-year-old.
Kevin Chamberlain says the delay is necessary to accommodate the investigation of Carnel's death near Mount Pleasant. He says it's "disappointing but understandable." A message seeking comment was left for the FBI.
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