PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - Paulding County deputies filed felony murder charges against the father of a 12-year-old boy who died Friday night.
Investigators said they found signs of severe abuse on the body of Eric Forbes. A GBI autopsy ruled Forbes' death a homicide but did not say yet what caused his death. After receiving the report, deputies charged 32-year-old Shayaa Forbes with felony murder and an additional count of child cruelty.
"They got the preliminary autopsy results which have indicated that the manner of death has been ruled a homicide," said Paulding County Sheriff's Office spokesman Cpl. Ashley Henson. "The cause of death is still being investigated."
The county released the 911 calls made by Forbes that night. On the recordings, Forbes can be heard claiming his son had drowned in the bathtub.
"He's not breathing," Forbes said on the recording. "I thought he was in the tub, but when I went in to see him, he was a little bit underwater. His head was bobbing."
A 911 operator asked him how long he had been in the tub.
"It couldn't have been that long," Forbes said. "I just checked on him. I came back in there, he was just there. I thought he might have been asleep or something."
Neighbors did not act surprised to hear news of the additional charges.
"It's just a very sad situation," said Mitze McDonald, whose daughter went to middle school with Eric. "It breaks your heart. He deserves to be charged and prosecuted fully."
Police said the boy's sister also lived at the home. She is now in state custody.
Family members have set up a fund to help pay for Eric's funeral. Contributions can be made to the Eric Forbes Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank branch. Other friends are having a memorial fundraiser Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Acworth's Crossroads Grill on Cedarcrest Road.