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— After death of 5-year-old, Ark. woman is arrested

FORT SMITH - A Fort Smith woman was being held without bond Monday on a charge of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, according to the Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

Arkansas Online reports that Rae Von Elizabeth Smith, 23, was charged in connection with the death of a 5-year-old boy who Fort Smith police described as her stepson. Smith told police the boy suffered injuries in falls down stairs on two consecutive days.

Formal charges are pending, according to the prosecuting attorney’s office.

The boy had multiple bruises, abrasions, burns and cuts; multiple carpet burns to his face and his lower teeth had penetrated his lower lip. Doctors at Mercy Hospital Fort Smith said the boy’s injuries were inconsistent with Smith’s explanations, according to an affidavit.

UALR student robbed at knifepoint near campus

LITTLE ROCK - An 18-year-old college student was robbed at knifepoint in Little Rock on Friday afternoon, police said.

The student told officers he was walking between restaurants near the 3300 block of south University Avenue, across the street from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus, shortly before 12:30 p.m. when a bald man wielding a knife approached and demanded that he give up his valuables, according to a police report, according to Arkansas Online.

After taking a debit card and a $5 bill from his victim, the robber punched him in the face, injuring the teen’s lip, and left north on University on foot, authorities said.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock spokeswoman Tracy Courage confirmed that the victim was a student at the university.

An initial report stated that the robbery occurred in the 2800 block of University Avenue, but police spokesman Officer Eric Barnes later said it actually took place near the 3300 block of that street.

According to officers, the 18-year-old refused medical treatment. He described the robber as a white man in his 30s or 40s wearing a black jacket and black pants. The assailant stood about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed roughly 150 pounds, according to the report.

No suspects were named and no arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Northwest Arkansas man accused of raping a girl

BENTONVILLE — A Bentonville man is accused of raping a 3-year-old girl, authorities said.

Tristan Nathaniel Tiarks, 33, was being held Sunday in the Benton County jail with bail set at $500,000. He was arrested on preliminary charges of aggravated assault, second-degree battery and rape.

Bentonville police arrested Tiarks after searching his home, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A nurse at the Mercy Medical Hospital Emergency Center in Bella Vista reported to investigators Friday morning that the girl was brought there with injuries from a suspected sexual assault, according to the affidavit.

The girl was later interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County, where she said Tiarks had wrapped a green towel around her neck which made her not able to breathe, according to the affidavit.

The girl’s medical examination revealed linear marks around her that indicated she had been strangled, the affidavit states. An examination also found evidence associated with sexual assault, according to the affidavit.

The girl’s mother told police she left her daughter with Tiarks for about 45 minutes while she went to the store, according to the affidavit.

Tiarks’ arraignment is scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 19.

Tiarks was ordered not to have any contact with the girl or her family members.

Thieves cause $70K worth of damage to hotel

JONESBORO - Authorities are searching for copper thieves who caused $70,000 worth of damage to a northeast Arkansas hotel.

Officers with the Jonesboro Police Department said they were called on Sunday to Jonesboro Inn and Suites at 2407 Phillips Drive in reference to a theft.

A representative from the hotel told investigators that she discovered multiple rooms on the fourth floor were missing pipes. She said the entire building was under construction. It wasn’t clear how the thieves entered the hotel since the windows and doors were locked on the first floor.

Police said large copper tubes were removed from 14 bathrooms, and it appeared crews would have to open up the walls to repair the damage.

Officers said $70,000 worth of damage was done and $3,400 worth of copper pipe was taken.

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