Published: Feb 22, 2008
Lattie McGee Photo, Beaten & Tortured Until His Flesh Ripped Away
by Jack Ryan

The story and the death of Lattie McGee...is one of the most disturbing stories you will ever hear. An innocent 4-year-old boy inhumanely tortured, beaten, hung and killed.

If you cannot handle reading about a little boy whose flesh was ripped away from his body when authorities found him hung and broken, you may not want to continue - because it gets much worse.

It was a hot day on August 14th, 1987, when authorities and paramedics arrived at a South-Side Chicago apartment only to discover the most disturbing murder case they've ever seen. Little 4-year-old Lattie McGee was hanging dead in a closet - upside down.

How? Why? Ask Lattie's 28-year-old mother Alicia Abraham and her 40-year old boyfriend, Johnny Campbell. They tortured Lattie McGee, beating him day after day, night after night, burning him and starving him. but that's only the beginning.

What else did poor Lattie go through? The only four years of life he had were on the edge of death - filled with evil and sick forms of abuse. I often wonder...did he ever get the chance to smile? Or was his life so filled with pain and torment that he never got the chance...

It's hard to write about what was done to Lattie McGee. His mother Alicia Abraham and her boyfriend Johnny Campbell spent the summer of '87 beating little Lattie's brittle body, hitting him with their powerful fists. They smoked cigarettes...and then burned him with them. They burned him with scorching hot irons and held his little legs over boiling water, dumping him into it repeatedly. They pricked the 4-year-old with sewing needles and starved him of food and water.

Eventually, Abraham and Campbell tightly entangled his raw, burned ankles in clothing line and hung him upside down in a closet overnight. They stuffed rags in his mouth to drown out what Campbell called "effeminate" cries and put potato peels over his eyes. They bound Lattie's hands together and ignored his pain-filled screams from a broken pelvis and collarbone.

They left him there...hanging...where his beaten body slowly gave up...and he died.

The morning came and Alicia Abraham, who's son was hanging in her closet dead, sat down in front of her television and watched TV.

Paramedics and police arrived - and it was the most gruesome case of child abuse any of them had ever seen. According to a Pathologist, little Lattie died of a severe blow to the head. It was said:

"His emaciated body, scarred from head to foot, was so infected from untreated wounds that he probably would have died a short time later."

The paramedics and police approached the dead boy's body and gently lifted his toddler t-shirt. That's when they discovered the raw skin on his chest. He had been beaten so brutally and so often that his flesh literally ripped away. How painful that must have been.

But while Lattie's story had come to its end - his brother Cornelius Abraham's story had only just begun. Cornelius was a courageous boy - and probably the only reason there was justice for his little brother. Cornelius testified against his mother Alicia and her boyfriend Johnny Campbell - and because of him - they were sentenced to life in prison.

Cornelius' courage never floundered, despite the tragedies in his life. After many more years of hard times and struggles, Cornelius went to college. About.Com reports that in 1999, for the first time ever, the YMCA Network for Counseling and Youth Development of Greater Chicago land presented Cornelius with the Cornelius S. Abraham Award, designed to give hope to children who have suffered from abuse. 

Cornelius' strength is an inspiration - and so was the strength of his baby brother.

Here is a link to the memorial.

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