The mother of a 4-year-old boy went to the Upper Perk Police Department in Pennsylvania “visibly upset” and carrying a plastic bag containing three teeth, bloodied and intact to the root, according to authorities.

Those teeth, she reported, belonged to her 4-year-old son. Prosecutors on Monday accused Nicholas Kernechel of pulling the boy’s teeth in the July incident and announced charges against the 27-year-old, including aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The boy was in the care of Kernechel the night of July 18, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman’s office.

Kernechel was the live-in boyfriend of the boy’s mother, and the 4-year-old is autistic, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s hard to use the word ‘motive’ to describe an event like this, that is just so callous and vicious,” Ferman said in a video interview with the Pottstown Mercury. “From what we surmise, the little boy wasn’t doing exactly what this defendant expected or wanted him to do, and it was a reaction purely in anger.”

She added the incident represents “one of the most horrific cases of child abuse that we’ve seen in a very long time.”

Kernechel’s attorney Patrick McMenamin Jr., said his client didn’t abuse the child and the injuries were “an unfortunate accident,” AP reported.

McMenamin added that Kernechel had been helping the child get out of bed to use the bathroom when the boy slipped, fell and hit his head on a table and floor.

In addition to the missing teeth, the boy “had visible, severe facial and dental injuries, including an extremely swollen upper lip, a bloody upper gum line, and bruises all over his face,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Montgomery County prosecutors allege that after the boy’s teeth were pulled, “Kernechel left [the boy] in his bed, bleeding and crying, and failed to tell his mother about his injuries when she returned to the apartment in the early morning hours.”

The Mercury newspaper reported the boy’s mother told investigators she left her son with Kernechel while she went out with friends for about two hours.

It wasn’t until the following morning that the mother found her son inside his room, “asleep on the floor, lying on top of dried blood,” reads a statement from the district attorney’s office.

Investigators asked the boy about the teeth, to which he responded Kernechel “hit and take them [his teeth] out,” prosecutors said.

A judge set Kernechel’s bail at $100,000 during his arraignment and forbade him from having contact with the mother and son. His next hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Courtesy Washington Post