A Meridian, Miss., man is accused of beating a 3-year-old girl as hard as he possibly could because she could not answer questions about numbers correctly. Police say that 25-year-old Josh Salovich was teaching numbers to little Bailey Salovich when, they say Salovich explained, the little girl did not give the correct answers, so he began to beat her as punishment.
According to WTOK, detectives say that Salovich confessed to hitting the child with a bamboo rod, a cord and his hands as hard as possible. Salovich was originally charged with felony child abuse, but that was later changed to capital murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges, the Associated Press notes, and is currently being held without bond.
Detectives say that the child went to the bathroom on herself after being struck and that Salovich also began to punish her for that. Bailey’s mother was said to be in another room with the door closed and the TV on at the time of the brutal beating. According to WTOK, he is not the child’s biological father but is on her birth certificate.
Bailey suffered bleeding in the brain, a detached retina, blood in her lungs and marks all over her body, authorities say. Police say that they conducted several interviews with Salovich and that he confessed to beating the child in every one of them.
“According to investigators, he did indicate a little remorse. Whether it was genuine or not, I don’t know,” Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose told the news station.
AP reports that Salovich, when asked about the beating, told investigators that “this was a tough world and she had to be tough if she wanted to survive.”
Dubose said that Salovich told police that he was asking the 3-year-old questions about numbers and that he would “pop” her when she got an answer wrong. Salovich said that he used this method of discipline on the child at least five times per week, acknowledging that he used a bamboo rod until it broke, before turning to a cellphone cord and his hands.
When detectives asked Salovich to say how hard he had struck the child on a scale of 1 to 10, “he rated them all 10s, with no hesitation,” Dubose said.
“He was pretty straightforward about what he did and why he did it,” Dubose said.