9-month-old boy's death a result of blunt force trauma and suffocation, ruled a homicide

9-month-old boy's death a result of blunt force trauma and suffocation, ruled a homicide

January 15th, 2019 by Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

The December death of a 9-month-old boy has been ruled a homicide, according to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office, bringing the city's 2018 homicide rate to 22.

The boy was found dead in a bed by the babysitter on Dec. 16. When Chattanooga police arrived at the home in Stone Ridge Apartments at 1020 West 37th Street, they found the babysitter giving the child CPR.

The baby was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Now, Chattanooga police and the county medical examiner have ruled the child's death a homicide, as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and suffocation. Other injuries to the boy's body were also found.

According to the report, the child sustained fractures to the skull, bruising to the brain tissue and bruising to the spinal cord. There was also evidence of bleeding from the lungs, and several bruises and abrasions to his face, some resembling finger marks, and on the rest of his body.

No suspect information has been released at this time, and police haven't said whether the babysitter is a person of interest.

The woman who was allegedly the babysitter did not return requests for comment via Facebook. But she had previously told Times Free Press news partner WRCB News Channel 3 that the infant was sleeping in another room when a family member checked on him and found the brother's arm around the baby's neck with the baby's face in a pillow, unresponsive.

It wasn't clear whose family member or whose brother she was referring to.

The infant's death adds one more to Chattanooga's homicides in 2018.

The city saw a total of 24 killings last year. Two of those were determined to be justified (bringing the final homicide count down to 22), and a third was an officer-involved fatal shooting. That incident is still under investigation, meaning it isn't yet known if it was justified.

A justified homicide means there was no criminal intent.

Only four of those cases, including the infant's death, have not yet been solved. The other three include the Feb. 18 slaying of Cachet Peterson, the July 13 discovery of Robert Townsend's body, and the Dec. 9 shooting death of Stephen Moore.

Peterson, 21, was shot at Southside Social at 1818 Chestnut St. She died shortly afterward at a local hospital.

Townsend, 60, was found in a construction waste dumpster in the 2500 block of Laura Street. His body was heavily decomposed and wrapped in multiple layers of plastic. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be suffocation and blunt force trauma.

And Moore, 34, was found with a gunshot wound in the 2500 block of East Fifth Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police ask anyone with information to call the department's Homicide Tip Line at 423-643-5100.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @Hughes Rosana.


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