San Diego sailor, live-in girlfriend accused of torturing son, 5

Almost 20 pets removed from "unsanitary" home
San Diego sailor accused of torturing son, 5
Posted at 2:10 PM, Aug 16, 2017

MURRIETA, Calif. (KGTV) - A San Diego-based sailor and his live-in girlfriend were arrested Tuesday after police found a 5-year-old child severely injured and living in filth among 15 pets.

Murrieta (California) Fire and Police crews were called to a home just after 10 a.m. local time. Tuesday to reports of a juvenile-age person in need of medical aid. When crews arrived, they found a 5-year-old boy with severe injuries, according to an MPD press release.

The boy was brought to a local hospital by ambulance. Due to the extent of his injuries, the boy was airlifted to a San Diego County hospital overnight.

Officers on scene determined the incident involved child abuse and interviewed the boy's biological father Benjamin Whitten, 33, and his father's live-in girlfriend Jeryn Johnson, 25, MPD said. A search warrant for the home was also executed.

Police said the home was "extremely unsanitary" and 11 dogs, four cats, and two fish were removed by animal control officers.

Police determined the couple was responsible for the child's injuries and arrested the pair, according to MPD.

Wednesday the boy reportedly remained in "grave condition."

Whitten, a U.S. Navy 1st Class Petty Officer stationed in San Diego, and Johnson have been charged with willful harm to a child and infliction of great bodily injury, according to MPD. Police also charged each with a count of torture due to the severity of the boy's injuries.

Whitten was booked into Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, while Johnson was booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. The couple is due to appear in court on Thursday, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.