A Florida woman and her mother are accused of beating a 3-year-old boy with a plastic rod before throwing him across a room, all because the tot drank milk from a jug, authorities said.
The child, identified as Xavier Mokarzel-Satchel, died from his injuries. Lakesha Lewis, 28, and her mother, 58-year-old Callene Barton, have both been charged with first-degree murder in little Xavier’s death.
According to CBS News, Lewis is the girlfriend of Xavier’s mother, Brandi Mokarzel. All three women, Xavier and one of Barton’s grandchildren lived in an Orlando apartment.
A police report details that Mokarzel was awakened Friday by Barton yelling at her son for drinking from a milk jug and eating yogurt. Lewis then reportedly grabbed a plastic rod used for window blinds and repeatedly struck the small child until the rod broke. Mokarzel told investigators that she grabbed her son and ran back into her bedroom with him, but Barton grabbed the child from her and threw him down the hall.
Xavier began to shake as if having a seizure, at which point Lewis and Barton began to splash water on him to wake him up. Mokarzel said that she tried to call 911, but Barton knocked the phone out of her hands, saying that she would “end” Mokarzel if she called the police. Barton reportedly claimed that she didn’t want child-protective services to take away her grandchild.
Mokarzel then ran to a neighbor to call 911, but when she returned to the apartment, Xavier was lying on his back with food coming from his nose. The boy was rushed to the hospital, where he died four hours later.
Both Lewis and Barton were denied bail.
Mokarzel is also facing child-neglect charges in the incident after doctors discovered that Xavier had several bruises that were healing. She is accused of not reporting previous abuse, and a judge set her bail at $2,500.
The director of Florida’s Department of Children and Families Mike Carroll said that the department was investigating the incident and that Lewis’ 4-year-old son, who lived in the apartment, was placed in DCF custody.
“The tragic death of this innocent child is heartbreaking, and we are horrified by the alleged actions of the individuals involved. DCF is actively investigating this case and will continue to support law enforcement in any way possible to hold those responsible accountable,” Carroll said.
Read more at CBS News.