RICE, Minn. (WCCO) — Police in Benton County are asking any women to come forward who may have had a relationship with the man who is accused of killing a 7-month-old boy.

James Wood, 29, was charged Tuesday with third-degree murder in connection to the death of Noah Belgarde. The original complaint states Wood was staying with the child’s mother, Kateri Belgarde, with whom he was in a relationship. Belgarde told police that after going to sleep the night before, she awoke to the child being cold to the touch, and displaying bruising on his face and head.

Upon questioning, police asked the other child at the residence, a 4-year-old, if he saw anything happen to the infant. The 4-year-old told officers that he had seen Wood hit the baby.

After police initiated a search for Wood, they found he had already been arrested that morning and was in jail for driving the wrong way down the highway.

In an effort to seek information on any past patterns of domestic abuse, investigators are are asking any women who may have had a significant relationship with Wood since 2007 to contact them. Wood was known for using online dating services such as Plenty of Fish.


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