Children are at the center of this holiday season, the focus of plans, parties, gifts and stories aimed at warming the heart. Yet while most local homes prepare for the holiday season, a couple is being held on a $1 million bond and their surviving children are in protective custody after a horrible attack that left one child dead and his twin brother with a broken femur and several broken ribs.
The two-month-old victim was found unresponsive Monday around 5 a.m. at a family member's home and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide the following day.
According to the Wayne County Prosecutor, the two-month-old victim was found with "suspicious [finger-shaped] bruises and what appeared to be bite marks." In court Thursday prosecutors read the coronor's report which stated the cause of death appeared to be asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the chest, causing "multiple rib fractures and bleeding in the chest."
Police have released a statement that the father admitted placing "his hand over the...baby's mouth for 10 to 20 seconds." According to police, he also admitted to squeezing the baby's body tightly and beating on his chest because the baby was crying.
22-year-old Antonio Pepalonia Brandon and 18-year-old mother Nicole Susanne Roberts have been charged with murder and first degree child abuse; each face life in prison if convicted. They are currently held on a $1 million bond pending a hearing December 15.
The two-month-old victim's twin brother and another 2-year-old child have been taken into protective custody by Child Protective Services. They were startling to learn that when the surviving twin received a medical exam doctors discovered multiple rib fractures and a broken femur, indicating patterns of abuse over most of their lives.