BATTLE CREEK, Mich.–A murder investigation is underway in Battle Creek after police found an unresponsive 17-month-old in an apartment on North Avenue.
Battle Creek police say 23-year-old DePaul Martell Brown is currently in jail on an open murder charge in the toddler’s death.
They say the call came in around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and that they stayed well into the night investigating and were back out again Friday.
Brown is the boyfriend of the toddler’s mom, but not the father, according to police. The two were home earlier in the day but not when police arrived; only the babysitter was home along with other young children.
At this point in their investigation, police don’t believe the toddler’s mom had any part in her death.
Detective Sergent Jim Martens says he believes Brown took the victim into a bedroom in the apartment, and cuased some sort of trauma to the child that led to her death.
“Looking over the child there did appear to be bruising or marks on her neck. We can not say whether or not that had anything to do with this incident at this time.”
Martens says investigations like this are especially hard on investigators.
“Having a dead 1-year-old child is something that can give you a little more of a boost to continue to do your job as hard and as well as you can because yeah it tugs at the heart strings.”
Mary Lee, who lives nearby, says her heart is broken over the news.
“It makes me angry inside that somebody would do that to an innocent child,” she said.
Police say they are still waiting for autopsy results. Brown is expected to be arraigned on Saturday.
This isn’t the first time Browns been in trouble with the law. Records show back in 2007 and 2008 he was arrested for obstructing police and felony weapons charges.