A Charlotte-area woman says her 11-year-old grandson confessed to dropping his sibling and has now been charged by police in the infant's death.
Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department charged the young boy with felony child abuse for his involvement in the death of 6-month-old Kamdyn Barnell Johnson. The juvenile's name is not being released due to his age. Police say "the 11 year old is in the custody of his grandparents."
Earlier this week, CMPD announced Wendy Latwann Johnson, 33, had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse causing serious bodily injury in the death of her child.
The warrant, obtained by WBTV on Thursday, says that the baby suffered a "subgaleal hemorrhage and hemorrhage to the right eye, injuries to both cheeks, forehead, nose, back of the head, lip, and has a torn frenulum."
The original incident was reported on Nov. 9 on the 6300 block of Suntrace Way off Statesville Road.
According to a release from CMPD, officers arrived at the home and found the infant unresponsive. The child was transported to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Johnson was arrested Monday and placed in the Mecklenburg County Jail. She is being held on a $200,000 bond.
Debra Sanders told WBTV that her daughter was not at home when her infant was injured but she hadn't been gone long. Sanders says Johnson showed "poor judgment" leaving the baby with his 11-year-old brother.
CMPD's Homicide Captain Cecil Brisbon confirmed Thursday that "the mother was not home during the time of the actual event." He went on to say that after Johnson was arrested, they "continued the investigation and determined the juvenile was also responsible and charged him as well."
Captain Brisbon said investigators didn't take lightly the decision to charge the juvenile.
"With all cases - especially ones that involve children - it's something we take very seriously. It's nothing that we would ever want to rush to judgement for" said Captain Brisbon. "It's something we're very thoughtful in terms of how we come about this decision. We spoke to the District Attorney's office. We spoke to the Department of Juvenile Justice. And ultimately the facts led us to where we are."
Sanders said her grandson gave a taped confession to police at CMPD on Monday night. She says she was with him when he gave it.
The grandmother didn't want to go into details, but she told WBTV that the young boy told officers that he picked up the baby and dropped him.
She said the 11-year-old demonstrated what happened using a doll.
Sanders said the young boy had "a tendency to be jealous of the baby."
"I can tell you it's a sad situation all around" Captain Brisbon said. "It's not a situation that we wanted to have to make these charges, however, this is where we are. It's unfortunate but ultimately as I said before we try and make sure we're holding everyone accountable for the criminal activity."
Sanders told WBTV that she is devastated by the incident and is angry and hurt that her daughter has been charged for the death. Sanders says her daughter is not a baby killer.
If the 11 year old confessed, and police acknowledge that Johnson wasn't home at the time of the injuries, why is the mother facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter?
Captain Brisbon said "ultimately there's a level of responsibility and accountability that also lies with the parent in this case. Understandably, the grandmother is upset with her daughter being charged and I understand that. However, it goes back to what I've said before - we charge based on the total picture. We charge everyone that's responsible in all cases."
According to the law in North Carolina, a person is guilty of involuntary manslaughter if:
(1)Kills Another Living Human Being (a) By An Unlawful Act That Does Not Amount To A Felony and Is Not Ordinarily Dangerous to Life
OR (b) By A Culpably Negligent Act or Omission.
Sources tell WBTV the key element in Johnson's case is the "culpably negligent act or omission." She left her baby with an 11 year old.
Captain Brisbon said "this is a case where ultimately the mother bears some responsibility for that action and therefore was criminally charged."
During a court hearing on Tuesday afternoon, Johnson was issued a public defender. She will have a bond hearing next week and a probable cause hearing at the start of December.
According to his obituary, the baby's funeral will be held on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 2pm at Alexander Funeral Home Chapel, 1424 Statesville Ave., Charlotte, NC.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police at 704-432-TIPS.