MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –- Two people have been charged with second-degree murder and child neglect in connection with a 1-year-old boy’s February death.
Police charged Shacara Tennell Foster, 27, and Kentae Denario Todd, 20, on Thursday. The toddler’s death was ruled a homicide by the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in late April.
Sheriff Rich Stanek, of Hennepin County, said the child suffered multiple broken bones, hemorrhages and cigarette burns.
“Could you think of a more horrific way to die for a 19-month-old kid,” he said.
On Feb. 10, authorities were dispatched around 11:30 p.m. to 19-month-old Cottrell Short’s home on the 3700 block of Hillview Lane on a report of a baby not breathing.
Police determined the baby was Foster’s. She was staying at the home with her boyfriend, identified as Todd, plus his mother, stepfather and Todd’s 11 siblings.
An investigation revealed the home where Short was staying contained garbage, rotting food, several animals, dead animals, animal waste and had “otherwise filthy conditions,” according to the charges.
Todd told police he was watching Short in the days before his death, after Foster left for a couple of days. Todd said the boy vomited on Thursday, Feb. 9 and didn’t eat or drink anything after that. He said on Friday, Feb. 10, Short had a temperature of 102.6 and was crying all day.
Todd told police he gave the child Tylenol fever reducer and called Foster to come home. Sometime on Feb. 10 evening, Todd said he left the house to go to the store and left Short sleeping without supervision.
He admitted to police he smoked marijuana that night before returning home. When Foster came home that night, she found Short not breathing. Someone else in the home then called 911.
Short died the next day at the Ridgeview Hospital in Waconia.
The Medical Examiner said Short’s death was a result of many causes, including sepsis from burn, hemoperitoneum, peritonitis, abdominal and head injuries (including skull fracture and hemorrhages). The injuries were due to neglect and multiple debilitating injuries of varying ages.
Chief Paul Falls, of Minnetrista Police, said the case was complex.
“It took quite some time to sift and sort through the case,” he said.
Short suffered significant injuries, including multiple fractures in the wrist, rib, leg, elbow and shoulder, multiple cutaneous injuries to head, torso and extremities of varying ages as well as elevated sedative medication.
“Some of these injuries were fairly deep to the brain,” Falls said.
The charges state photos of the child show a desperately ill, battered and injured child that would’ve been obvious to anyone who saw him. His head and face alone had numerous bruises, scabs and injuries, according to the complaint. Foster did call for medical help for the child on Feb. 10 or any day before.
Foster was arrested on March 23 on charges of felony neglect and was booked into the Hennepin County Jail. Her charges were amended Thursday after Todd was arrested in Coon Rapids.
“I have over 18 years of experience and this is probably the most difficult case I’ve ever worked,” Falls said.