Police: Dead toddler had signs of trauma
By Ashley Kelly, Newport News, July 21, 2010

NEWPORT NEWS Police say the 1-year-old boy who was found dead Tuesday at his home had visible signs of trauma on his body.

Medical examiners are trying to determine how the boy died. An autopsy was being conducted Wednesday as police continue to investigate the boy's "suspicious" death while in the care of his mother's boyfriend.

Authorities received a call at 4:34 p.m. about an unresponsive child at Aqua Vista apartments. The boy, who was found in a bedroom, was pronounced dead shortly after police arrived, according to Holly McPherson, a spokeswoman for Newport News Police Department. The boy's 5-year-old sister was also in the apartment but unharmed. McPherson said the mother of the children was at work Tuesday and her boyfriend was caring for them. The apartment complex is located in the Southeast Community behind King-Lincoln Park.

The woman's boyfriend, who has not been charged in the boy's death, was questioned by police Tuesday evening.

Calvin Sneed says he was passing out fliers Tuesday around 9 a.m. when he saw the woman's boyfriend with the boy.

"The kid was running behind him. He was like, 'This kid is so [expletive] spoiled. I told you to come on.'" Sneed said the tiny boy struggled to keep up, was barefoot and only wearing a diaper.

"The kid was running behind him. He was like, 'This kid is so [expletive] spoiled. I told you to come on.'" Sneed said the tiny boy struggled to keep up. The boy was barefoot and only wearing a diaper, Sneed said.

Later that day Sneed heard a little boy was dead. Sneed says he realized it was the same boy from earlier when he saw police questioning the boy's caretaker from that morning.

"When I saw the man sitting on the steps I said, 'I know that boy.'"

Police are still investigating how the boy died and how long he had been dead when they responded.

About 100 people Tuesday evening stood on doorsteps, in stairwells and on sidewalks watching police detectives go in and out of building 668.

"It's really sad to know that a little kid died out here," said resident Karen Brown-Harris. "A little baby that doesn't even know what life is all about."

Carmen Craighead, who says she is a friend of the mother, said the child, as well as his 5-year-old sister, usually attended daycare with her two sons. Craighead said a daycare worker told her that the children had not been coming lately. The last time they had seen the boy, he had bruises.

Copyright 2010, Newport News, Va., Daily Press

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