Criminal Complaints: Parents of boy mauled to death used his fear of dogs as discipline

EL PASO, Texas - The parents of a four-year-old boy mauled to death by the family's dogs allegedly used the boy's fear of the animals as discipline, criminal complaints obtained by ABC-7 state.

On July 29, 2017, Jacob Brooks was attacked by the animals at his home at 9109 Morelia in El Paso's Lower Valley. 

Police officers and emergency responders found the boy dead in the backyard with what appeared to be critical injuries throughout his body, court documents state. The El Paso County Medical examiner would later find the boy was missing skin tissue, muscle and scalp.

Police learned the boy's parents, Ashley Brooks and Brittany Marie Brooks, left the boy alone in the backyard with the dogs while they took care of household chores inside the home, the court documents state. After an investigation by the police department's Crimes Against Persons Unit, Brittany and Ashley Brooks were arrested and charged with "Injury to a Child." 

Court documents obtained by ABC-7 state blood evidence found in the backyard indicated the boy attempted to run away from the dogs. The document also states "the manner in which (the victim) was discovered confirms an extended stay within the backyard with the dogs who ultimately attacked."

The animals were taken to Animal Control, where they were euthanized and subjected to a post mortem exam that led to the recovery of evidence indicating the dogs killed the boy. The document states neighbors who spoke with detectives said the dogs were malnourished. A neighbor told police she sometimes took it upon herself to feed the dogs, the document states.

Detectives also spoke with relatives who allegedly said the boy was "terrified" of the family pets. The criminal complaint states relatives allegedly witnessed Brooks "use the fear as discipline" by threatening to leave the boy along with the dogs if he misbehaved.

"The (investigator) believes the historical abuse of the animals, the (victim's) fear of these animals, the (mother's) lack or delay in checking up on him and the decision to allow the (victim) to remain by himself in the backyard with the animals were contributing factors in the death of the (victim)," the criminal complaint states.

The actions of the victim's parents "elevated the probability of the incident to occur and allowed a glaring omission that ultimately took the life of the (victim)," the document states.

Brittany and Ashley Brooks were booked into the El Paso County Jail under $7,500 bonds.

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