A 22-year-old Fellsmere man was charged with Aggravated Child Abuse after punching a 14-year-old teenager in the mouth, breaking his jaw on both sides.
Deputies said the child suffered a swollen face and bruising on the jaw area, and surgery to wire his jaw shut.
According to the warrant, the incident occurred at a residence in Fellsmere when Hunter Crawford invited the teen into a barn. According to the victim, Crawford told the teen he was a “bad kid” and “needs to learn a lesson.”
The victim said out of nowhere, Crawford stuck him in the face with a closed fist, knocking the teen to the ground. When he got up, he pushed Crawford and left. When friends and family asked the child what happened, he said, “Hunter taught me a lesson.”
According to text messages obtained by deputies, the victim’s sister told Crawford of her brother’s broken jaw and how it was wired shut.
“Are u even sorry, honestly? He’s in the hospital in pain, all drugged up at 14,” the sister told Crawford.
Crawford responded and said they were “wrestling around” and that he felt horrible.
“Let me know how he’s doing if you need anything from me, please; I’ll do whatever I can,” he said.
Crawford said the two were boxing around, and he didn’t think he was that hard on the child. Then, in a text message to friends, Crawford tried to explain what happened.
“I see so much of myself in him when I was his age, and I was trying to joke around with him a little,” Crawford wrote. He said he only tried to get the teen to smile and laugh.
Deputies served Crawford a warrant last Wednesday and transported him to the Indian River County Jail, where he is being held without bond.