KEY POINTS

  • The child's mother initially told police that the "dogs did it" 
  • A medical examiner said the child suffered physical blows and sexual assault
  • The teen gave varying accounts about his presence at the apartment

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a 2-year-old baby. Police said the toddler was raped and beaten to death.

Lee Wayne Young Jr., of Mankato, Minnesota, was taken into custody Wednesday and was facing a second-degree murder charge, said a statement from the City of Mankato. The prosecutor in the case is seeking to have him tried as an adult.

A petition charging Young said the toddler was found unresponsive at an apartment in Eastport Drive on April 16, The Free Press reported. A police officer, who was responding to another call nearby, was called to the home by the toddler's mother. The body of the 2-year-old boy was already in rigor mortis by then. 

Though the mother and her boyfriend told the officer that "the dogs did it," police found the injuries were inconsistent with a dog attack.

The child was rushed to a hospital in Mankato but he was pronounced dead. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide. The examiner found "multiple traumatic injuries" that were "consistent with physical blows to the head and a sexual assault." The toddler suffered facial bruising and bleeding, brain bleeds, anal trauma and bruising on his chest, back, and legs. However, it was not clear which of these injuries caused the death.

"The medical examiner determined there were so many contusions he could not count the number of blows that were delivered," the petition said. 

The mother later told officers that she left the child in the care of Young, who was her boyfriend's son, and a 12-year-old girl. The woman said the girl had called her to say that the toddler wasn't breathing. 

When questioned, the girl told investigators that she was with Young and the boy. When she went to check the toddler as he was sleeping "unusually long," she found him bleeding and dead. The girl said she called the mother immediately.

Young's father told authorities that his son was not at the apartment when the incident happened. The teen, however, gave varying accounts of what happened. 

While Young initially claimed he arrived shortly after the boy was found unresponsive, he later said he was already there in the house. He again changed his statement, saying he carried the toddler downstairs after the girl found him unresponsive and waited 20 minutes for the mother to arrive. 

A hair was collected from the boy's body as possible evidence. Young initially refused to give a DNA sample but he was forced to undergo a test and the results are pending. 

Two police officers, who were in the neighborhood at the time, reported seeing Young and the girl outside the apartment a few minutes before police were called to the home. Young appeared to be speaking rudely to the girl, they told investigators.

Child Abuse Representational image Photo: Reuters