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A Michigan man could face life in prison after he laid his girlfriend's 5-year-old son out on a footstool and waterboarded him, police said Monday.
The man, Michael A. Porter, 30, was arraigned Monday and held on $400,000 bond on eight felony counts, including child abuse, imprisonment and assault, according to records filed in Genesee County District Court. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 28.
Mount Morris Police Chief Keith Becker said Porter told investigators that he used the tortuous interrogation technique on the boy because he'd ripped his backpack at school.
Becker told NBC station WEYI of Flint that Porter "tied the 5-year-old's hands up with a belt down by his sides, put a garment over his head down below his nose, laid him on a footstool on his back and poured water over his throat, face and mouth."
He said Porter told investigators he'd gotten the idea from a movie.
Becker said detectives believe the man also abused the boy's 12-year-old brother with a knife. Both boys have been removed from the home, he said.
The case came to police attention after a teacher at the younger boy's elementary school noticed him acting strangely, police and school officials said.
"It's very reassuring that our staff is paying very close attention to children and listening and doing what they know is right," said Tricia Hill, superintendent of the Mount Morris Consolidated Schools.
Patty Newbacher, who lives on the same Flint street as Porter, told WEYI that she was shocked.
"That's terrible," she said. "You know it happens and it's everywhere, but you don't expect it to be so close."
Court records listed no attorney for Porter who could be asked to comment.
Earlier this month, Dr. Melvin Morse, a Delaware pediatrician who has written several books on near-death experiences involving children, filed an appeal of his 2014 conviction for waterboarding his 11-year-old stepdaughter.