Metro-East News

A month after Belleville toddler’s death, police still waiting for evidence

Toys were placed outside the apartment after the toddler’s death.
Toys were placed outside the apartment after the toddler’s death. BND file photo

St. Clair County sheriff’s investigators said Friday they’re still waiting for an answer as to why a Belleville toddler died last month.

The 2-year-old boy, whose identity has not been released, died at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis on April 13.

Shortly afterward, police said they were holding a “person of interest,” but the person was later released, and no charges have been filed.

Sheriff’s Capt. Bruce Fleshren on Friday said investigators were awaiting results of forensic tests.

“We are in a holding pattern,” Fleshren said.

Rose Psara, spokeswoman for the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office, said forensic tests were not yet complete.

“We are waiting for lab results,” Psara said.

Labs are backed up, Psara said, due to the increase in heroin overdoses, leading to longer wait times for forensic results.

Labs are backed up due to the increase in heroin overdoses, leading to longer wait times for forensic results.

The toddler suffered an injury April 13 around 8:30 p.m. at 2622 Eastview Drive in Belleville, police have said. The child’s mother and her boyfriend, who is not the boy’s father, took him to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, but doctors soon determined the child’s condition necessitated that he be flown to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He died there about three hours later.

Hospital personnel contacted the Department of Children and Family Services, which called the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies then went to the apartment where the child was injured and began an investigation. A “person of interest” was detained, but not charged. That person was released two days after the child’s death.

Candice Cherry, an upstairs neighbor at the apartment building, told a Belleville News-Democrat reporter that she heard what she described as hammering coming from the downstairs apartment a day or two earlier. The boy’s mother, her boyfriend, the toddler boy and an infant girl had recently moved into the building, Cherry said, and she didn’t know them well.

“They mostly kept to themselves,” Cherry said.

The day after the child’s death, an autopsy was performed and revealed preliminary information about the child’s death, but the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s office went on to conduct additional tests to determine how the child suffered the injuries.

A month after the child’s death, investigators are still waiting on those results, Fleshren said Friday.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

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