Illinois - A Clinton County mother and her boyfriend have been charged with killing the woman's 3-year-old son, authorities said today.
At 8:35 p.m. Thursday, the tot's mother -- Valerie J. Schoolfield, 27 -- and her boyfriend -- Scott P. Endicott, 22 -- both of rural Carlyle were arrested in Keyesport by the Clinton County Sheriff's Department. Both are charged with first-degree murder and bail has been set at $2 million for each of the two suspects, said Clinton County State's Attorney John Hudspeth.
Endicott and Schoolfield were both still in the Clinton County Jail this morning and expected to make a court appearance later today, according to Hudspeth's office.
The boy -- Joseph Matthew Schoolfield -- died Jan. 25 in a St. Louis hospital. Clinton County Sheriff said that Joseph was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese late in the afternoon of Jan. 21 but had to be airlifted that evening to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where he later died.
Officials have not released what killed the tot, but records show that Joseph had been removed from his mother's custody for two weeks last fall amid allegations that the boy had been physically abused, the sheriff said.
The child lived with his mom in Madison, Illinois, before his mother moved him to Carlyle shortly before his death, Hudspeth said.
Records show that Madison County prosecutors on Jan. 8 accused Endicott of domestic battery, alleging that he repeatedly beat Joseph with a belt on the face and body in September. Prosecutors there charged Valerie Schoolfield of endangering the life or health of a child for not reporting "multiple bruises, contusions and evidence of physical abuse" on her son's body and then not seeking medical attention for the child.
A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said that investigators for the department had proven, or "substantiated," that Joseph had been abused by the mother or her boyfriend last September.
Joseph was in protective care from Sept. 25 to Oct. 27.
Another ruling in Madison County on Oct. 7 ordered Valerie Schoolfield to stay away from Endicott.
On Dec. 2, Madison County State's Attorney William Mudge tried to take Joseph away from his mother. But, as Mudge said in a written statement issued on Tuesday, one of the DCFS investigators had contradicted another DCFS investigator and testified in court that the child had not been abused. So, the child remained in his mother's care.
Joseph's babysitter has said that last fall she had reported that Joseph was being abused to the DCFS hotline.