An 18-year-old woman was arrested in Texas in connection to the beating and torturing to death of her 12-year-old nephew at their home near West Yellowstone, Mont.
Madison Sasser was arrested Thursday in Conroe, Texas, on a warrant accusing her of negligent homicide in the death of Alex Hurley. The warrant set her bail at $150,000. She is being held at the Montgomery County jail in Texas.
Madison’s parents, James Sasser Jr. and Patricia Batts, and 14-year-old brother, James Sasser III, are each charged with felony deliberate homicide. Gage Roush, 18, is charged with felony assault on a minor after prosecutors said he was seen on video hitting the boy with a wooden paddle.
In February, investigators found videos on family members’ phones of the family torturing Alex at their home on Buffalo Drive near Hebgen Lake, according to charging documents.
Batts told detectives she started having trouble homeschooling Alex after pulling him out of school in September, saying that he drove her “nuts,” court documents say. If she found him not doing schoolwork, Batts said she made Alex do “wall sits,” jumping jacks or had him stand in front of fans half naked while being squirted with water.
Batts said she allowed Sasser III to punish Alex when she wasn’t home, but denied knowing how he was punishing the boy.
Madison told detectives that two nights before the family found Alex dead, Sasser III dented a wall by hitting Alex’s head against it while Batts and Sasser Jr. were there, court documents say. The fight started when Sasser III touched a heater while being duct tapped to Alex, and Sasser III began to kick and punch Alex in the head five times, Madison said.
Madison said Alex was disoriented, had memory loss and wasn’t talking “right” after that. She said Alex threw up, but she thought it might have been from drinking alcohol. Prosecutors said in charging documents that that was information Madison received from Batts.
Madison told detectives that she believed Sasser III killed Alex.
Detectives later found text messages from Madison to her boyfriend that said Alex was like “a piece of (expletive) off of my (expletive) shoe” and that he “could (expletive) go and die in the woods and I wouldn’t (expletive) care.” Madison also told the boyfriend she would be the “one to talk in his funeral :)).”
Later in the thread of messages, Madison said, “I’m so heartless to him dude honestly. I beat the (expletive) out of him just now.” She later said she had “beat the (expletive) outta him my (expletive) hands hurt.”
Batts and Sasser Jr. are also charged with felony criminal child endangerment. Batts also faces aggravated kidnapping and strangulation of a partner or family member charges, all felonies.
Sasser Jr., Sasser III and Roush have each pleaded not guilty to the charges. Batts, Roush and Sasser Jr. are being held at the Gallatin County jail. The 14-year-old uncle is being held at the Yellowstone Youth Services Center in Billings.