Boyfriend of Carnel Chamberlain's mother charged with boy's assault

Anthony Bennett, 20, is accused of assaulting 4-year-old Carnel Chamberlain before the boy was reported missing June 21.

When she first got word little Carnel Chamberlain went missing last week, his great-aunt, Esther Chatfield, knew something was amiss. She says the 4-year-old never wandered far from home. He was quiet and well-mannered and enjoyed playing with the dogs.

When local, state and federal police agencies launched a search for him, Chatfield feared the worst.

"I was just devastated. Devastated because I knew that baby was there,â?? she said.

Investigators searched woods, ponds and wastewater treatment plants on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian reservation, still believing Carnel was alive, until they found his body Thursday, buried under the porch of the home where Carnel lived with his mother, Jaimee Chamberlain, and her boyfriend, Anthony Bennett.

"My husband and I are very stressed over this, and tired,â?? Chatfield said.

â??And I'm stressing out because it's so close. Close to the home, and it's my family."

Bennett, who was named earlier this week as a person of interest, is now charged with assault. He was arraigned Friday before a federal judge in Bay City. Family members are convinced he has more to do with Carnel's death. Itâ??s a reality tough to bear, they say, but a source of some relief, after a grueling week.

"I know Carnel's spirit is going to find justice, because that poor little baby is going to tell the authorities how he died, what time he died,â?? Chatfield said.

Anthony Bennett appeared in court without a lawyer and was sent back to jail Friday. Prosecutors don't want him released on bond. An FBI criminal complaint quotes Carnel's mother saying Bennett had assaulted Carnel weeks ago.

A detention hearing is scheduled for next week.