Dad, stepmother charged with murder in 4-year-old boy's death in Holt, Mo.

PLATTSBURG, Mo. - A 4-year-old boy who died Monday from blunt force trauma to the abdomen had been living for six to eight weeks with injured ribs, according to court documents charging his father and stepmother with his murder.

Melissa D. Webb, 32, and Justin R. Webb, 34, were both charged Thursday with second-degree murder and child abuse. They are being held in the Clinton County Jail on a $500,000 bond each.

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Melissa Webb, the stepmother, called police around 3:10 p.m. Monday, according to the probable cause statement. Emergency crews arrived at their Holt, Mo., residence to find the boy, Lucas Webb, unresponsive.

Lucas died at an area hospital.

The court documents allege during the investigation, it was determined the boy had complained of stomach pain on Aug. 24.  He reported that his stepmother kicked him in the stomach, and that she was angry when she did so.

An autopsy on Tuesday revealed Lucas' ribs had been fractured and separated for six to eight weeks prior to his death.

Melissa Webb has two other biological children who do not live in the home. She shares custody of them with her ex-husband.

Less than 500 people live in the small town of Holt, so news of the boy's death traveled quickly.

"It makes me very angry," said Holt resident Elizabeth Jeffries. "I don't see how people can harm an innocent child that can't defend themselves."

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