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Grandparents jailed for child cruelty

BUFORD -- A boy found wandering near downtown Buford inadvertently tipped off authorities to a case of physical violence against children, police said Tuesday.

Gwinnett police located the 11-year-old child walking alone Friday near East Park Street. The child could not provide police with enough information to locate his guardians, so he was placed with the Division of Family and Children Services, police said.

Meanwhile, his grandparents and legal guardians, Johnny, 63, and Josephine Armstrong, 62, called police to file a runaway report. They were informed of his placement with DFCS and instructed to attend a deprivation hearing on Monday, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli.

That hearing never happened.

"Over the course of the weekend, suspicious marks on the child's body were observed," Schiralli said.

The child told a DFCS case worker his grandparents had beat him with cords and belts, inflicting the injuries, Schiralli said. The boy's sister accompanied the Armstrongs to court and also bore visible injuries, police said.

The case worker contacted the Gwinnett police special victims unit, who interviewed the children and grandparents and found probable cause Monday to arrest the Armstrongs.

Both are charged with felony cruelty to children. Josephine faces an additional count of misdemeanor battery.

The Armstrongs live in the vicinity of where the boy was initially found, Schiralli said.