Sheriff’s office: Abuse suspect could be illegal

COUNTY — A man facing abuse charges after police say a 5-year-old child was forced to burn himself could be deported, according to Pickens County assistant sheriff Tim Morgan.

An investigation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has been initiated to determine if Ernesto Gonzalez Sanchez, 31, is in the United States illegally, Morgan said.

Morgan told the Courier on Tuesday that Sanchez is currently being held at the Pickens County Law Enforcement Center under a $25,000 surety bond, and if he makes bond he will immediately be taken into custody by immigration officials.

According to warrants issued by the Pickens County Sheriff’s office, deputies believe that on or about February 14, Sanchez forced a 5-year-old boy to place his hand on top of a kerosene heater as punishment for wetting the bed.

According to Sanchez’s warrant, as a result of the punishment the victim received several large burns to his hand which will result in permanent disfigurement.

Deputies also arrested the boy’s mother, Melinda Roxanne Ramey, 24, of 5102 Moorefield Memorial Highway, in the case. Ramey was reportedly Sanchez’s girlfriend.

Ramey was charged with abuse, allowing another person to inflict great bodily harm upon a child, while Sanchez was charged with abuse to inflict great bodily injury upon a child.