The child, who was later identified by family members as Anthony Bakare, was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died, officials said.
According to police, the victim’s mother said she went to bed around 11:15 p.m. and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Anthony Andrews, took over caring for and watching him.
She mentioned witnessing Andrews previously using either a belt or the dog toy for disciplining her son and recently had noticed "excess bruising and wounds" on the child, although Andrews said the boy had “fallen out of bed," WMC reported.
While speaking with investigators, Andrews said he hit the boy “seven or eight times” that morning on the back, face and buttocks. According to authorities, he also said he was using the dog toy and allegedly admitted that he hit him “harder than [he] should” with a belt a few weeks earlier.
Police said Andrews claimed he slapped the boy “at least once or twice” and shoved him into a corner before putting him back to bed, which he fell out of several minutes later, unresponsive, WMC reported.
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Britnee Andrews, Anthony’s sister, told WMC, “He loved that little baby. That’s not his biological son, but he would never hurt that baby.”
He “whooped” the kids, but never excessively, she continued, adding, “He is so good with my kids, and I know he couldn’t hurt anyone."
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Britnee told WMC that she won’t believe her brother “beat that boy to death” until she sees the autopsy report for herself.
Officials said they are also waiting for the autopsy report, which could lead to more severe charges.
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