An 11-month-old boy died Friday night from a broken spinal cord and a severed aorta artery. His mother’s boyfriend has been charged with second-degree homicide in his death.
The state medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Saturday said it appeared the baby was slammed against something “so forcefully that it broke the baby’s back and caused the baby to bleed to death” within seconds or minutes.
He told an officer with the Tallahassee Police Department “he had never witnessed this type of severity in his career as a medical examiner” and “there was no other explanation than a homicide.”
As a result of interviews, the autopsy and an investigation, the man who had been watching the boy, 26-year-old DaJuan Barnes, was booked at the Leon County Jail on Saturday. He is being held without bond.
About 7:46 p.m. on Friday, a TPD officer was called to a housing complex on Blountstown Street just north of West Tennessee Street to assist paramedics with a baby who was not breathing. The EMTs gave CPR to the baby, who appeared still and lifeless, court documents said. The baby was then rushed to a hospital.
The child’s mother said the boy had been sick and was running a fever. She gave the baby Motrin, but he was not getting better. Before officers arrived, she had left the baby with Barnes so she could run to the store to get more medicine.
Barnes told officers he is not the boy’s biological father but is dating his mother, who is seven months pregnant with his child. He said he called 911 after the baby started vomiting. A couple days prior, he said, the baby partially fell out of a bed.
The baby, Barnes said, was acting normal prior to the incident and had been crawling on the floor with other children earlier in the day. He said he put the baby on the couch, where the boy started to throw up. Investigators found what appeared to be stomach bile on a blanket the child was on.
The medical examiner found the baby had an unusual number of fingernail scars and that there was a lot of blood in the baby’s stomach and internal organs.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat | Sean Rossman