Couple charged with abusing 9-year-old girl, frequently hitting her with ax

RAY COUNTY, Mo. – A Missouri man and his girlfriend face charges after allegedly abusing the man's 9-year-old niece for months, according to court records.

WDAF reported that 29-year-old Mario Allen Barreto faces 29 counts of abuse and neglect of a child. Melissa Holloway, 25, has also been charged with 22 counts of abuse and neglect of a child and one count of hindering prosecution of a felony.

The 9-year-old girl was taken to a hospital with a serious hand injury, according to court records. Doctors determined she had a crushing injury to three fingers on her right hand, requiring surgery and amputation of part of her ring finger.

Doctors also discovered the girl had several other injuries, including fractures in her arm, wrist and seven ribs, bruising, scarring, multiple cuts and other signs of traumatic injury, according to WDAF.

Read full story: WDAF