2-month-old baby dead; police say mother beat him, got food at drive-through

The Flint police chief said the 23-year-old woman told investigators the baby “wasn’t his normal self.”
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 5:26 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A 2-month-old baby boy is dead, and Flint police say it was at the hands of his 23-year-old mother.

She’s accused of severely beating her baby. Then, instead of getting help, Flint Police Chief Terence Green said she went through a drive-though for food.

The case has even shaken veteran law enforcement officials. Green is commending his detectives, who he said are working tirelessly to get this 2-month-old baby justice.

“These are a very horrendous set of facts. Both Chief Green and myself -- we’ve discussed this -- have not ever seen anything quite like this,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.

So far, Green said the investigation reveals the woman abused her baby boy on the night of Nov. 11. But, he said it took the mom until the next morning -- around 8 a.m. on Nov. 12 -- before she called 911.

“She just told the officers that the baby wasn’t acting right, wasn’t his normal self,” Green said.

The 2-month-old baby boy was rushed to Hurley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead of his injuries.

Anytime a child dies, police immediately begin to investigate -- and that’s what happened in this case. About a week later on Nov. 17, Green said detectives got some information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that resulted in the 23-year-old mother’s arrest.

“Our understanding is the baby was treated very, very badly -- slapped, slammed to a hardwood floor, thrown into a bed, perhaps. While the mother slept, she turned and laid on top of the baby, further traumatizing the baby,” Leyton said.

He and Green said the mother went to McDonald’s instead of taking her baby to the hospital when she knew something was wrong.

“This is a 2-month-old baby. He couldn’t yell for help, definitely could not have defended himself. It’s horrible. It’s sad,” Green said. “I want to thank the Prosecutor’s Office for bringing these charges because I feel they’re definitely justified.”

The 23-year-old will be formally charged Saturday with murder, torture and first-degree child abuse. If convicted, she faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The baby’s father is not believed to be involved. Green said the baby’s 1-year-old sibling showed no signs of abuse.

Why would she have done this?

“You know, we don’t have an answer for that,” Leyton said. “That’s the question that we need to really answer if we’re ever going to solve the problem of curbing child abuse in our community.”

“I beg the community -- if you even suspect child abuse, give us a call,” Green added.

He said anyone can contact Child Protective Services if they don’t feel comfortable calling police. He never wants anyone to wonder, “what if.”

The number of child abuse cases in Genesee County has increased 20% during the coronavirus pandemic. Child abuse advocates say victims are too young to speak up for themselves and they don’t have their own phones to call 911, so it’s up to adults to be their voice and get them help before it’s too late.

“This type of incident, you can have a police officer on every corner in there and they wouldn’t have solved, you know, wouldn’t have helped a 2-month-old,” Green said.

Voices For Children Advocacy Center Executive Director Nyse Holloman said authorities won’t know which children to protect if adults don’t report potential problems.

“Child abuse will end if you and me and everybody else accepts the responsibility that they’re supposed to have to ending child abuse,” she said. “That means when you get that weird feeling, when you hear something that doesn’t sound right, this is not a no-snitch situation.”

Holloman said typically a child’s best advocate is a teacher they trust. She said virtual learning has impacted that line of communication, but thankfully many neighbors have spoken up.

While she agrees with the need for another economic shutdown, Holloman is worried about families not seeing each other in person over the Thanksgiving holiday. So, she’s asking if anyone have little children in their families to check in with them by video.

“Ask them what’s going on. Remind them if there’s ever anything they need to talk about, they can talk to you and it doesn’t matter what anyone has said to them, that you are a safe person that they can talk to,” Holloman said.

She and law enforcement also pointed out that child abuse knows no boundaries. Anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect can report it to police or call 1-855-444-3911.

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