Autopsy shows 4-year-old died of blunt force trauma
CHATTANOOGA - (WRCB) - Antonia Moten says she took Patricia Brewer at her word that it was normal discipline--when she asked about all the yelling and screaming she'd hear coming out of the apartment next door.
"She's say 'oh, he's just getting his ass whupped, you know. As in spanking."
Monday evening, Brewer's 4-year-old son Tyreke Ladre Evans was pronounced dead, and his 3-year-old brother Donamiche was admitted in critical condition, shortly after his mother and her live-in boyfriend, Kenneth Dewayne Coleman, brought the boys in to Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
Brewer and Coleman have been charged with felony murder, attempted murder, and two counts of aggravated child abuse.
"Both boys showed signs of abuse about the entire body," Chattanooga Police Sgt. Jerri Weary said Monday.
The Hamilton County Medical Examiner's preliminary report shows the cause of Tyreke's death as multiple blunt force trauma.
It details a horrific list of wounds and injuries;
Brain swelling. Fractured ribs. Lacerations to his liver and bowels. Needle punctures. Multiple bruises, some of which were old enough to have begun to heal.
"They (Brewer & Coleman) had told us both of the boys had been whipped with a belt prior to being brought to the emergency room," Sgt. Weary says.
The police incident report quotes Coleman as claiming that Tyreke had tumbled down the stairs, but that his mother had broken his fall midway.
"Did I ever see them with bruises," Moten says. "No. She kept 'em dressed."
Had caseworkers seen that, Tennessee's Department of Children's Services would have grounds to take protective custody. Communications Director Molly Sudderth has confirmed the DCS had begun investigating Brewer and Coleman earlier this month, but has declined to reveal what the probe had uncovered.
"State law forbids it," she says. "But caseworkers have the authority to place a child in protective custody if they get information that the child may be in immediate danger."
Such information could include witnessing abuse directly, observing bruises or other injuries, and statements from the child or one of his/her caregivers, Sudderth says.
The medical report adds fuel to what neighbors and police have asked since Tyreke died;
who might have known, or suspected the boys were being hurt? Who could have acted, but didn't?
"There's a time to cover (for your family), and a time to get real," Moten says.
Donamiche Brewer remains in Children's Hospital in critical condition, police say. The state has placed him in protective custody, effective Tuesday morning.
The family plans to begin making funeral arrangements for Tyreke, Friday.