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The Journal Gazette

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Saturday, March 17, 2018 1:00 am

4 area children slain in 2018

Coroner rules 5-year-old's death a homicide

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Benjamyn Otto McKinney Frederick, 5, was named Friday the 10th homicide in Allen County this year, and the third homicide to be ruled by the Allen County coroner this week.

No charges have been filed in the death of Benjamyn, who died from neck compression and blunt force trauma, according to the Allen County coroner's report. Neck compression does not mean he was strangled, choked or his neck was broken, the coroner's office said.

In addition to two child homicides declared this week, a 5-month-old girl named Caroline was transported to the hospital about noon Wednesday after being shaken by her father, Dakota Allen Moran, 21, of the 2300 block of South Calhoun Street, according to court documents. Moran is being held at the Allen County Jail.

Benjamyn, who was rushed to the hospital March 8, is the fourth child to die this year, the fifth child in the past five months when including 2-year-old Malakai Garrett, who died from severe internal injuries Nov. 29, court documents said.

A neighbor said Benjamyn's family had rented the house for only a few months and that he had never seen the family at the Hanna Homestead Park across the street.

No one answered the door at 1218 Gay St. where Benjamyn was found, but there was a notice from the Allen County Sheriff's Department tucked into the storm door.

The number of child homicides could grow to six in the past five months if 2-year-old Jocelyn “JoJo” Belcher, who was found unconscious at an East Butler Street home Jan. 27 and pronounced dead, is ruled a homicide. The Allen County coroner has yet to rule on her death.

'Didn't mean to do anything to her'

Moran is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, a higher bail amount than normally meted for a charge of battery with serious bodily injury to a person under 14, a jail spokesman said.

When police and medics arrived at the South Calhoun apartment, Caroline was not breathing, court documents said. Moran told medics in the ambulance, “I shook her but after she stopped breathing.” Emergency personnel reported that Moran was “acting strange.”

At the hospital, the baby had no physical signs of trauma, but shortly afterward, a CAT scan revealed a brain bleed that doctors said was the result of trauma. Doctors also said there was evidence of a brain bleed from about two to three weeks ago and an additional recent brain bleed.

A timeline established that Moran had been taking care of Caroline since 8:35 a.m. Wednesday when the baby's mother left for work. At that time, Caroline was acting normally, court documents said.

About 11 a.m. Caroline woke up crying, and she kept crying as if she was in pain, Moran said that the baby was having trouble breathing, then her legs locked up and went stiff and she started to shake.

Moran said after Caroline stopped breathing, he began bouncing her back and forth to try to get her to breathe and he threw his phone to a friend, who had been sleeping on the couch, to call 911. Moran said he pressed on Caroline's belly and chest to try and help her breathe.

After Caroline underwent surgery, police started to conduct an interview with Moran, who burst out, “I didn't hurt my daughter intentionally if that is what you guys are thinking. Y'all are gonna have to kill me if you're gonna take me to jail for something I didn't mean to do because I didn't mean to (expletive) do it. Y'all are going to have to kill me if my daughter dies. I didn't mean to do anything to her. I just tried to help her out.”

Moran also said that he “didn't even shake her at all until she was out on the bed. That is when she went limp on me and I was trying to wake her up.” He also said he “had never shaken my kid like that. I have never hurt her like that.”

Moran took a doll that was offered for demonstration and showed how he shook her, “a playful shake like I would my cat,” he said.

He is out of work, he said, which has added stress to his life because he was used to working 50-hour weeks. He said being at home with his daughter was hard and he wasn't used to it; there was a lot to do being a dad.

If Moran is counting on sympathy from the general public, he is not receiving much right now. #JusticeForMalakai, an internet group that sprung up after the death of Malakai Garrett, showed up Thursday about midnight at the courthouse where Moran appeared Friday morning, at the Meeks Justice Center next to the jail and the Allen County prosecutor's office with their chalk. Slogans written on the sidewalks outside those buildings included “Justice for Caroline,” “No Bond” and “DCS Failed Again.”

Moran will appear in court Wednesday and a no contact order was issued. Court documents did not specify who filed it.

Accidents and homicides

The first child to die this year was Deborah Kay Schwartz, an 8-year-old Grabill girl shot in the eye Jan. 4 with a BB gun by a younger sibling. She died the next day in the hospital and is buried in the Westridge Old Order Amish Cemetery in Grabill, according to an online obituary.

Her death was ruled accidental and non-prosecutable.

Fifteen days later, two women were found shot to death in the 1200 block of Lillie Street about 6:30 a.m. One woman, Brianna R. Gould, was carrying an unborn child, a boy considered of a viable age in utero, who became this year's fifth homicide.

Deyante Antuan Stephens, 26, of Fort Wayne has been charged with the murder of all three victims and will be tried by a jury starting June 11.

On Monday, 10-week-old Lxzander Carrillo was rushed to the hospital about 1 p.m. after his mother left for school about 9:20 a.m. and left her son in the care of his father, Julio Carrillo.

Lxzander would only survive the two skull fractures he received until 4:55 p.m., when he died in the hospital. There were also tears in his rectum, which his father said were the result of inserting half a suppository inside to relieve the baby's constipation.

According to additional information included in court documents Friday, Lxzander had multiple strikes to his head and the skull fractures were caused by being struck with an unidentified object or onto an unidentified object and not from a fall, as the father had claimed.

Injuries to Lxzander were so extensive that even if he had been taken to the hospital “in a timely manner,” the doctor could not say whether the baby would have survived the injuries.

Julio Carrillo was charged with murder Thursday and is at the Allen County Jail without bond.

jduffy@jg.net