Boy, 3, dies one month after returning from protective custody to home of man accused of child abuse, police say

st louis
Source: St. Louis County police

Oct. 13 2021, Published 4:25 p.m. ET

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A Missouri man with a history of child abuse allegations against him is now in custody for the death of a toddler, authorities said.

On Oct. 7, Tevin Branom, 21, was at his home in Florissant watching four children. Around 5 p.m., EMS and police responded to the residence when a 3-year-old boy, Eli Taylor, stopped breathing. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

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According to police, Branom was unable to explain why the toddler, who was later determined to have died from abdominal trauma, had suffered bruising to his body and broken ribs.

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Branom was arrested and he now faces charges of second-degree murder as well as abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death. He was being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

Brandom previously “was implicated in abuse allegations that led to the four children being removed from the home for nearly 18 months but they were returned about one month before the victim’s death,” KTVI reported, citing a court document.

“Certainly, the timeline of this tragic death relative to the previous state supervision of the welfare of the child and the apparent release of the child to the family home raises concerns about that process,” St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell’s office said, adding, “We will review all relevant state records as we proceed.”

Jo’Na Lenois, a neighbor of Brandom, told KTVI the boy’s death was “crazy.” “Kids live their lives and we should not be abusing kids. We should be raising them up,” she said.

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