A 9-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly beating a 14-month-old baby to death.
According to police in Cahokia, Illinois, the two boys – who are believed by authorities to possibly be related – were sharing a bedroom at the time the 9-year-old allegedly beat the baby to death.
The baby, Taquan Willis, was discovered in the home of his mother, Alisha Johnson, on Sunday.
According to Taquan’s relatives, at the time of the incident the baby was in the home with his two brothers, ages 2 and 3, one of his mother’s friends and the friend’s boyfriend, a 12-year-old boy and the 9-year-old that has been charged in connection with Taquan’s death.
The St Louis Post Dispatch reports that the boy was found unconscious and on the floor.
Johnson’s aunt, Jessica Jackson, told the St Louis Post Dispatch that the 9-year-old was a relative of Melissa Wilbourn, whom had been living with Johnson for approximately one month.
Jackson told the St Louis Post Dispatch that Wilbourn told members of Johnson’s family that she had heard a groaning sound coming from the back room where the children where sleeping and went to check on them. She said they were asleep on the floor when she went back there, but then heard the sound again and went back into the room and called for Taquan.
Wilbourn had said she picked Taquan up and his body was limp.
According to Jackson, Wilbourn said she told her boyfriend that there was something wrong with the baby and they called 911. The boy was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Jackson told the St Louis Post Dispatch that she knew the 9-year-old and doesn’t think he would have beaten the baby to death.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly released a statement late Friday afternoon saying the 9-year-old was charged on Tuesday with first-degree murder in juvenile court, but provided no other specifics.