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Community reels after two-year-old allegedly beaten to death

A two year old is dead after police say the child was beaten by 34-year-old Marcus Mays last week.

Mays is being held in the Lewis County Jail on $500,000 bond.

Neighbors are reacting to the tragedy that has shaken their community. If you live in the small river town of LaGrange, Missouri, people know who you are even if you’re new to the area like Barry Pfister.

"Everybody knows everybody. Everybody knows pretty much everyone else’s going ons and they watch out for each other," said Pfister.

That’s why when word a 2 year old child was beaten and died 4 days later, word quickly spread.

"Here in a small community, you don’t expect it and because you don’t expect it, it has a greater impact on the whole community," said Pfister.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s office is investigating and they say upgraded charges against Marcus Mays could be possible pending autopsy results.

Neighbors of Mays like Mary Ryan say they never thought the man was capable of hurting a child.

"It just doesn’t sound like something Marcus would’ve done," said Ryan. "So I’m just trying to wrap my head around that. I’m trying to figure out what happened."

And in a small town of less than 1,000 people, Ryan says things like this simply don’t happen around here.

"I wouldn’t expect anything like this," she said.  "It just shocked me and I’m still trying to wrap it around."

The sheriff’s office says if you know of someone that needs help with child abuse, call 1-800-422-4453.

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