An arrest has been made in the death of a two-year-old Michigan City boy who police say died from physical abuse.
Police say 22-year-old Tommy Shannon, Jr. of Michigan City has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with murder, Class A felony battery and Class B felony battery.
According to court documents, Shannon is accused of intentionally killing two-year-old Nizeir Brown on August 13 by use of physical force at a home on the 200 block of E. 7th St.
LaPorte County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Huffman said the boy died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen.
''The whole area was traumatized,'' said Huffman.
Shannon was the boyfriend of the child's mother, according to Huffman.
LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi says Shannon and the boy’s mother took the 2-year-old to the hospital with convulsions, where he later died.
The boy had been in the hospital the previous week with a high fever, and due to suspicions from doctors about his latest emergency room visit, an autopsy was performed.
The forensic examination showed Nizeir had sustained severe internal injuries, Szilagyi said.
''He was punched so bad that his pancreas basically was split in half.''
Szilagyi says there were other signs of previous abuse uncovered during the autopsy, but he did not know how long the alleged abuse had been occurring.
According to LaPorte County Police, deputies on September 30 retrieved Shannon from the Vanderburgh County Jail in Evansville and returned with him to face the charges.
Shannon was being held in Vanderburgh County on a warrant for a prior felony offense and when the murder charges surfaced authorities in LaPorte County were alerted to pick him up.
He is being held without bond in the LaPorte County Jail pending the outcome of the case.
Charges against other individuals are also anticipated.
The mother of the boy, whose name was not released, is expected to be charged, according to Szilagyi. What she will be charged with is still undetermined.
The boy’s grandmother will be charged with Failure to Report and Obstruction of Justice, Szilagyi says.
''We believe she had some idea what was going on and didn't report anything,'' Szilagyi said.
Szilagyi says the boy's death was not made public right away because of lingering questions on whether his death resulted from physical abuse or from some previous medical condition.
He also says the mother at one point had left the home, but it's not clear yet if she was present when the fatal punch was delivered.
''She may have left the boy with the defendant during that period of time,'' Szilagyi said.