SACRAMENTO, CA - He's small in stature and described by neighbors as a happy, cute child, but Thursday afternoon, this 11-year-old boy appeared in juvenile court, charged with severely beating his 51-year-old mother with an extension cord.

"It's highly unusual," said Officer Christopher Trim with the Elk Grove Police Department. "Typically ... it's the other way around."

The situation in the home was unusual, too, according toTrim. Despite his age, the boy apparently had taken on the role of caretaker to his ill, disabled mother with the two of them living alone in the house.

The incident occurred Monday and news of it had neighbors reeling.

"I actually bust into tears crying because it was too sad," said Jo Davolt.

She described the young boy as polite and cute.

"He would always say to me: 'Oh, ma'am, how are you today?' And I just thought he was adorable," Davolt said.

Theboy's mother was taken to the hospital for her injuries and will be under the care of Adult Protective Services.

Her son faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse. Thursday afternoon, public defender Steven Garrett described him as "a very sweet young man who is in a difficult situation."

He is soon to be transferred to the custody of his father. He will be in court again on Monday.

by Jonathan Mumm,

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