This happened in the city close to us....so disturbing.
Suspicious Death of Toddler Ruled a Homicide
A 19-year-old man charged in connection with the baby's death is being held on a $1 million bond.
The state medical examiner has ruled that the suspicious death of a toddler in Hartford yesterday was, in fact, a homicide, according to police.
Chaos erupted outside the Hartford courthouse today when the 19-year-old man charged in connection with her death faced a judge.
David Brown-Barrett was arrested last night after an afternoon of questioning. His bond was set at $1 million.
He was charged with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor, but police said they are working to upgrade the charges in light of the medical examiner's ruling.
Brown-Barrett is the boyfriend of the toddler's mother, and was with 13-month-old Taiasia Allen at the time of her death, according to police.
Taiasia died suddenly around noon on Thursday.
Police said Brown-Barrett took the toddler from his home at 162 Middlefield Street to Saint Francis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Police said investigators have obtained a search warrant to gather evidence from Brown-Barrett's home.
Brown-Barrett's arrest warrant includes a hospital report explaining that the baby had bruising on her stomach and marks consistent with being punched.
He initially told doctors that Taiasia had fallen off the bed, but later changed his story to say the baby was whining so he punched her in the stomach and left her on a bed, according to police.
Brown-Barrett told police he punched Taiasia because he had lost his patience.
When he came back a while later, she wasn't breathing and was bleeding and foaming at the mouth, according to the warrant for his arrest.
The warrant said he never called 911, and instead used a neighbor's phone to call family members and ran to his cousin's house for help. His cousin flagged down someone driving by to take Brown-Barrett and the baby to the hospital.
Following the toddler's death, police roped off Brown-Barrett's home on Middefield Street and a home on Burnham Street. It's not clear whether the Burnham Street home was that of Brown-Barrett's cousin.
Prosecutors said Brown-Barrett was out of jail on bond for a trespassing, larceny and burglary case at the time of the baby's death. He's a senior at Weaver High School in Hartford.
Both families were at court this morning, and the baby's family screamed at Brown-Barrett's family, yelling, "He's a murderer!"
Saint Francis Hospital staff called police to report the death on Thursday afternoon. Hospital officials said the baby went into cardiac arrest.
"About 12:30, we got a call from Saint Francis Hospital saying they have a baby in cardiac arrest they're currently doing CPR on," Lt. Brian Foley, of the Hartford Police Department, said yesterday.
Police taped off the house on Middlefield Street and were seen removing evidence on Thursday night.
The street was closed between East Raymond and Greenfield streets while police investigated. It's two blocks east of Hartford's Keney Park.
Police also taped off a home on Burnham Street in connection with the investigation, but said they were focusing their attentions on the home on Middlefield Street.
"We're working with the family, obviously, to find out what had happened," Foley said.
Officers have also been talking to neighbors in an effort to learn more. People who live in the area said they've seen a young boy at the house and are hoping for the best, given the circumstances.
"Any time something happens to a child, I am kinda stopped in the heart by it," said neighbor Andriena Baldwin.
Special investigations detectives and officials from the Department of Child and Family Services are working to determine the cause of Taiasia's death.
The DCF issued a statement on Friday regarding the home life of Taiasia and her mother.
In the statement, Commissioner Joette Katz said, "My heart goes out to the family for the tragic loss of their innocent baby."
The commissioner went on to say that DCF conducted an investigation into the family more than a year ago following a hospital report that Taiasia's mother had tested positive for drugs.
The hospital later contacted DCF to say "that the test was in error and that a subsequent test showed no drug use," according to the commissioner.
"Nevertheless, the Department conducted a full investigation and concluded the child was not abused or neglected. In fact, during the course of the investigation, the Department met with the infant's family, examined the child and confirmed that the child was being well cared for," the statement says.
Katz said Brown-Barrett was not involved with the family at the time of the DCF investigation.