NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 6-year-old boy was beaten by his mother's boyfriend before he fell unconscious and died, police say.
Police responded to a report of an unconscious boy in Harlem on Monday afternoon. When officers arrived at the apartment on West 135th Street and Broadway, they were told the child was taken to a hospital by his mother.
"It will forever be in my mind -- his lifeless little body you know, so sad," witness Joanne Martinez told CBS2's Magdalena Doris. "When I pulled his shirt up to see where we could resuscitate him, I see all the bruises."
The boy, identified as Zymere Perkins, was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
His mother, 26-year-old Geraldine Perkins, and her boyfriend, 42-year-old Rysheim Smith, were arrested and charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child.
The family was living in apartment 3C without a current lease and using an extension cord to connect power in the hallway to their home, the superintendent and neighbors said.
It was inside that apartment where the boy was repeatedly beaten with a broken broomstick by Smith, then held under water in the shower until he fell unconscious, police said.
Neighbor Joe Moore said the child fell through the cracks and his death should have been prevented.
"ACS has been here numerous times. For myself, I've seen them here three times myself," he said.
The city's Administration for Children's Services investigated Geraldine Perkins on five separate occasions since 2010, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.
Her family stood by her in court, saying she was scared and taken advantage of.
Smith told the New York Daily News he denies playing a role in the boy's death. The newspaper said Perkins became hostile when she saw cameras and said "That's my baby.''
The medical examiner is working to determine the cause of death. Perkins and Smith are expected to be arraigned Wednesday evening.
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