Memphis' youngest known rapist is so small his feet didn't touch the ground as he fidgeted on a Shelby County Juvenile Court bench Monday to face a judge.
The 7-year-old boy nonchalantly pumped his legs in the air waiting for the start of a hearing that would leave him in tears -- and in the care of strangers.
Beside him sat his co-defendant, a petite 9-year-old who chewed on his nails.
The two friends admitted to using an object to rape a 2-year-old girl in August while a group of neighborhood kids were at play in a South Memphis backyard. The victim's brother, age 5, told their mother.
The boys' families stood behind them in court with intentions to leave the hearing with their children.
But Magistrate Dan Michael ordered both boys placed in the custody of the state Department of Children's Services.
"Please don't take my child!" the mother of the 7-year-old wailed.
However, the judge already had ordered that DCS couldn't return either boy to his home without a full hearing in court.