Chicago police have arrested a 24-year-old woman in connection with the death of her 16-month-old son who, police say, was severely beaten by the mother’s boyfriend.
The Chicago Tribune reports police charged Dominique Smith with one felony count of endangering the life and health of a child. A judge ordered her held Monday in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Prosecutors said Smith left the baby and three other children, ages 5, 4 and 2, in the care of her boyfriend, 28-year-old Dantis Porter, on several occasions.
On more than one occasion, between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5, Smith came home to find burns on the youngest child’s body. Prosecutors said she failed on each occasion to take her son, Johnny “B.J.” Kimble, to a hospital.
On the evening of Jan. 6, B.J. was also left in Porter’s care and Smith returned home to find the child sitting in his stroller, slumped over and unresponsive, prosecutors said.
The boy was transported to Comer Children’s Hospital where doctors discovered he had traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, a lacerated liver, a broken rib and other injuries, according to court records.
The young boy died Jan. 9. An autopsy showed he died of closed head injuries due to blunt-force impact to the head.
Porter was initially held on a charge of aggravated battery of a child, but that charge was upgraded to first-degree murder on Jan. 22.
At Porter’s first court appearance, Assistant State’s Attorney Enrique Abraham said B.J. was so severely beaten that part of the child’s skull fell off in the medical examiners hand during the autopsy.
Abraham said Porter had admitted to investigators that he struck the baby three times with his hand because the child would not stop crying. On the first two occasions the boy got back up, but on the third occasion the boy hit his head against a bedroom door frame after being hit, Abraham said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The source of the burns on B.J.’s body have not been reported. Smith reportedly told investigators she thought they might have come from a space heater in the home. She is said to have told investigators she didn’t take the child to the hospital after noticing the burns because she was afraid authorities would take her son away.