RIVERDALE, Ga. -- The mother of a boy authorities said was beaten to death by his father is relieved that the father is now facing murder charges.
Ashlei Majors is now planning a funeral for her son Eric Forbes. She says she didn't get a call until Sunday morning from a family friend telling her of the 12-year-old's death.
She had strong words to describe the boy's father, who detectives said beat his son to death, and she told WSB-TV Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri she hopes he never gets out.
"An animal. A monster," is how Majors referred to her son's father, Shayaa Yusef Forbes, 32.
Wednesday, Paulding County investigators upgraded charges against Forbes from child cruelty to murder for the death of his son.
"It still sounds unbelievable. I can't believe he would even hurt our child. He's never showed signs of ever wanting to hurt his children."
On 911 recordings, Forbes said his son drowned.
"He's not breathing. I thought he was in the tub, but when I went to see him," Forbes could be heard saying.
"Was he underwater?" asked the operator.
"He was a little bit underwater. His head was like bobbing," Forbes replied.
But investigators said they found Eric Forbes' body with severe signs of abuse that appeared to have been caused over time.
"He had a broken foot, burns, cuts, lacerations and scars. Who wants to torture a 12-year-old? Your own child?" Majors said.
Majors said Shayaa Forbes had custody of both her son and daughter. She told Viteri that Shayaa Forbes had been violent with her in the past, but she never suspected he was hurting their child.
She said Eric was a loving kid, a sixth-grader who loved football and was always laughing. She said if she could talk to Shayaa Forbes the question she wants answered is why.
"What could he have done to you to want to go that far?" Majors asked.
The family is planning the funeral at the New Macedonia Baptist Church in Riverdale for next Friday.
Family members have set up a fund to help raise money for the funeral for anyone who wants to help.
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.
Video: WSB-TV Atlanta