Lakeland, FL – A man who frequently babysat his girlfriend's 3-year-old son was charged Wednesday in the boy's death.
According to detectives, 3-year-old Evan Watkins was brought into Lakeland Regional Medical Center by ambulance on Sept. 30 with a 104.7 degree fever at 1:58 p.m. and later died at 2:50 p.m. that same day.
On Oct. 2, an autopsy revealed Evan died as the result of blunt force abdominal trauma.
During an interview, Evan's mother, Susan Soligny, told detectives she frequently allowed her boyfriend, Marton Sandor Pal, to babysit Evan.
During a formal interview with 21-year-old Pal, he admitted to detectives to punching Evan in the abdominal area about one week before Evan's death.
Detectives say he also admitted to hitting Evan over a period of time and that the story he told them during an investigation into a previous child abuse incident was not true.
During the investigation, detectives learned that back on Sept. 13, Evan's daycare facility had reported suspicious bruising and scratching on Evan's face to the Florida Department of Children and Families. On Sept. 14, after a detective met with a Child Protection Team, it was determined there was not enough evidence at the time to support a criminal charge.
During questioning, when detectives learned Evan was in Pal's custody during the time of the suspicious bruising incident, he said Evan got the bruises after he accidentally fell at Banana Lake Park.
Pal, of Seminole, was arrested and was charged with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse.