A Lansing mother and her boyfriend were arraigned Tuesday on charges of murder and torture in the death of two-year-old Brandon Kemp.
Kemp's mother, 20-year-old Mercedes Kemp, and 25-year-old Marcus Hill are each facing life in prison, on one count of open murder and two counts of torture.
The pair is accused of torturing the toddler and his three-year-old sister Tyanna in their Miller Avenue apartment from November of last year, until April of this.
Prosecutors won't reveal the details of the case until both suspects have their preliminary exams, but do say the case is uniquely disturbing.
"You know everytime I think I've seen the worst, something always comes along to show me that I haven't yet," Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings said.
Mercedes Kemp's father and Brandon's grandfather, Michael Kemp, says the allegations are tough to swallow.
"I don't want to think that she... that she did it," Kemp said.
But he says he also doesn't want to live in denial, "I have to accept it in away because an innocent child is gone, so something had to happen inside the home."
Kemp's attorney, James White, could not be reached for comment but said in court the Lansing mother is likely in shock. He says the charges are completely out of character.
"She has never been accused of and or committed a violent offense," White told the magistrate.
"She was a loving mom, she really cared about the kids," Michael Kemp explained.
Kemp can't imagine his daughter being capable of murder.
"It's hard for me, I don't want to lose my daughter," he said. "I don't want to lose her to bars, I don't want to come and visit my daughter in prison." But if she is responsible, Kemp says Mercedes must answer for the crime.
Whatever the cost, he is determined to see justice served. "We're going to get the truth," he said.
Kemp is fighting for custody of his granddaughter and the court process continues.
Hill does not yet have an attorney. Both he and Mercedes Kemp are due back in court next week.