Madison County couple charged in death of 5-year-old

News-DemocratOctober 1, 2013 

A Madison County couple has been charged in connection with the death of a 5-year-old child.

Tavon K. Ludy, 24, of 2110 Rose Knoll in Glen Carbon, was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of felony aggravated battery to a child. Toria Coleman, 27, of the same address, was charged with one felony count of endangering the life or the health of a child.

According to Madison County Sheriff's Department reports, a 911 call came to their office at 10:21 a.m. Sunday in reference to an unresponsive child at the couple's address. The child, Coleman's son, Torian Whittaker, was taken to Oliver S. Anderson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said they determined during their investigation that the child was punched in the chest by Ludy and then collapsed.

"The investigation revealed that Ludy physically disciplined Torian and Torian's 7-year-old brother on a routine basis for minor issues," said Sheriff's Capt. Mike Dixon. "Toria Coleman was aware of the physical discipline being administered by Ludy."

Torian's sibling was taken into protective custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Ludy, the fiance of Coleman, was being held Tuesday in the Madison County Jail on $500,000 bail. Coleman was being held on $50,000 bail.