Juvenile in Custody, Family Mourns Death of 21-Month-Old
By: Ashley Ritchie
The family of 21-month-old King Stephen McCowan gathered outside their Merced home Monday trying to make sense of the tragedy that struck over the weekend.
"It's just like a nightmare to us right now. It's like it's unbelievable. This is not real," Tanishia Barnes, family member, said.
Merced police say the 16-year-old cousin called 911 after he couldn't wake King up Sunday morning.
But after further questioning, details from the night before began to unravel.
"The baby was wrestling with his four-year-old brother who was also in the house and they were rough-housing and he had to separate them and punish the four-year-old and the 21-month-old baby, by his word, ‘whipping' the two of them. He then had to punish the baby again for playing in the water in the toilet," Commander Floyd Higdon, Merced Police Department, said.
"I tried to tell the family that he has anger problems," Barnes said.
Tanishia says she tried to take her 16-year-old cousin to anger management classes several times, but he refused to go back.
And now an innocent child is gone forever.
"He was a very, very hyper, happy little kid," she said.
King's body was covered in bruises when Merced police got to him Sunday morning.
An autopsy is scheduled for later this week.
"I don't need an autopsy. Just seeing the pictures told me that it wasn't a belt-whoop that hurted that child. You know, he hurted that child," Barnes said.
And as the family stands waiting for answers, the only person who has them sits in the Merced County Juvenile Hall.
The 16-year-old juvenile has an outstanding warrant for an unrelated car-jacking violation.
Now, he's also being held on charges of felony homicide and felony child abuse.
And so far, no charges have been filed against the baby's mother.
A fund to help pay for funeral expenses has been established at Washington Mutual Bank. The account is under LaStarr Hamilton and the number is #3574798698.
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