Minneapolis police continue to investigate the "suspicious death" of a 2-year-old boy, but while the toddler's death has not yet been ruled a homicide, the boy's mother has been arrested and charged with two counts of malicious punishment of another of her children.
Warning: Details in this story are upsetting.
According to charges, 25-year-old Navonna L. West was found attempting to perform CPR on her 2-year-old boy, who was not breathing when police arrived to an apartment on the 2400 block of Oakland Avenue on Wednesday evening.
Medics rushed the child to the hospital, but he did not survive.
According to the criminal complaint, responding officers observed "numerous injuries" to the boy's body, "including bruising and scratches." The medial examiner who conducted an autopsy reported blunt force injuries that were in various stages of healing, noting that the boy's death could have been caused by "inflicted trauma," but pending toxicology results are required before ruling out any other cause of death.
The toddler's 4-month-old brother was also suffering from extreme injuries. According to the charges, the baby boy was examined at a hospital and found to be suffering from bruising, scabbing, possible lesions, a large burn that may have been from chemicals, burn marks on his back, blood in his right eye, scarring on the bridge of his nose, and loss of pigmentation on the side of his head.
The infant was treated by a pediatrician who specializes in child abuse. The pediatrician found that the baby was also suffering from multiple broken ribs and fluid in his abdomen, in addition to a test result showing he had been exposed to fentanyl.
West told investigators that no one else was ever alone with her children, though she is accused of attempting to "deny or minimize" the injuries to her children.
A witness told investigators of an alleged incident where West laughed while her 2-year-old boy was eating cigarette ashes.
She has been charged with two counts of malicious punishment of a child.