Las Vegas Valley man arrested, faces 13 charges in horrific child abuse case


Edward Colucci would laugh after punching and smacking his girlfriend's 5- and 8-year-old sons.

The 33-year-old laughed while forcing the 5-year-old to eat vomit-covered rice.

He would force the boys to take cold showers, stand for hours under an air conditioner turned on high while wearing next to nothing, and force them to eat dry Ramen noodles covered with salt, raw garlic and onions.

On one occasion he forced the 5-year-old to drink a glass of salt water he had spit in.

On another, Colucci sprayed eyeglass cleaner in the little boy's eyes.

Authorities in Henderson have called it one of worst child abuse cases they have seen.

Colucci faces 13 felony counts stemming from the beating of his girlfriend's two sons over an eight- month period. He faces multiple counts of robbery, first-degree kidnapping, child abuse and neglect, and battery.

A Henderson justice of the peace ruled at a preliminary hearing earlier this week that prosecutors had enough evidence to send Colucci's case to trial in District Court. He faces arraignment on Jan. 18.

The abuse of the two boys and their 30-year-old mother is horrifically detailed in a 15-page Henderson police arrest report obtained by the Review-Journal.

Police first learned of the abuse after they were called to Colucci's Lake Las Vegas apartment Nov. 22 in response to a report of an unconscious 5-year-old boy.

The boys' mother met Colucci on the social networking web site MySpace in 2009. After a year of correspondence and several meetings, she and her two children moved to the valley from Utah.

According to the arrest report, the physical and mental abuse of the woman began almost immediately.

Yet in April she and the boys moved in with Colucci.

In July, Colucci allegedly threatened to kill one of the boys if the woman did not have an abortion. She complied.

Colucci then began focusing his attention on the boys, whom he believed were not eating properly, according to the report.

Colucci would starve the boys for days so they would be hungry enough to eat the raw or frozen vegetables he force-fed them.

When the mother would attempt to help her sons, Colucci physically abused her.

On one occasion he threatened to kill her with a knife, police said.

Once, when she tried to leave Colucci, he straddled her and bashed her head against the floor while repeatedly telling her, "I love you."

On one night in August, Colucci forced the 8-year-old to eat a large salad, which the boy could not finish. He then started force-feeding the boy the concoction of Ramen Noodles, salt, and raw garlic cloves and onions.

When the boy didn't eat fast enough, he was forced to stay in a bathroom for two weeks. The boy slept on a towel on the floor.

Colucci also reportedly forced the boy to stand under the air conditioner in the kitchen while it was turned on high and the boy was wearing shorts and a shirt.

The 8-year-old's feet began to swell, his eyes "sunk in" to his head and he began losing hair, all the while he suffered the bruising of constant physical abuse. He was kept home from school during the month of September.

In October, Colucci turned his attention to the 5-year-old.

When the younger boy failed to eat Colucci's diet fast enough he was sent to the bathroom, forced to sleep there and given cold showers.

In November the physical abuse escalated.

The night before he was arrested, Colucci accused the 5-year-old of not eating a plate of cold rice and raw onions fast enough.

The boy begged Colucci not to hit him and said that he would be a good boy but Colucci began banging the boy's head against the kitchen counter, laughing as the boy cried.

As the mother tried to help the boy, Colucci threw a three-pound weight at the boy striking him in the leg.

Colucci then assumed a boxer's stance and was yelling at the 5-year-old to stand up. Colucci began punching the boy and poking him in the eye.

Crying, the boy told Colucci "I just want to be your buddy," but Colucci said the boy had ruined his day so he was going to ruin his -- and sprayed glass cleaner in his eyes.

As the boy wept, Colucci bit the bridge of his nose.

At 2 a.m. on Nov. 22, Colucci saw the boy had vomited on the rice mixture and forced him to eat it. Colucci was laughing, according to the report.

Colucci stayed awake that night to ensure the mother didn't help the 5-year-old, who was sleeping on the bathroom floor with a Superman blanket.

In the morning the abuse of the 5-year-old began immediately. Colucci began punching and kicking the boy in the stomach. The boy would collapse, but Colucci would lift him up by his armpits or grab the boy's hair to make him stand.

The boy eventually went limp. His mother finally called 911.

Colucci told police the boy had fallen down several times during the day for an unknown reason.

Colucci speculated to police that the boy was probably dehydrated from not eating. He said the boy had not eaten anything the day before because all he wanted was pizza and candy.

Colucci further told police the boy bruised easily because he was low on iron.

According to the report, before police came, Colucci begged the woman to tell police another man had abused her and the boys.

The woman told police that she kept trying to leave the relationship but was in fear for her life and that of her children.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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