MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis woman is facing charges of child abuse following the suspicious death of one of her young children earlier this week.
Navonna West, 25, is charged in Hennepin County with two counts of malicious punishment of a child, court documents show. While these charges stem from the investigation into her 2-year-old boy’s death, she does not face charges in that specific case, as toxicology reports are still pending.
According to a criminal complaint, Minneapolis police responded Wednesday to an apartment on the 2400 block of Oakland Avenue, in south Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood. Officers found West performing CPR on the toddler. Emergency crews took the boy to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators noted numerous injuries on the boy’s body, including bruising and scratches. An autopsy found a number of blunt force injuries in various stages of healing. While the medical examiner suspects the boy’s death to be a result of trauma, the toxicology report must first be complete to rule out any other cause of death, the complaint states.
After seeing the boy’s injuries, investigators also inspected his 4-month-old brother. A medical examination showed that he had bruises all over one side of his body, possible chemical burns on his belly, other possible burn marks on his back, blood in one of his eyes, and scarring across the bridge of his nose.
Later, a child abuse pediatrician examined the infant and found he had suffered several rib fractures and that there was fluid in his abdomen. Tests also determined he had been exposed to fentanyl, an extremely potent narcotic.
In an interview with police, West tried to deny or minimize the boys’ injuries, saying that they were the result of illness, the complaint states. She said that she was the only person with access to the boys other than a man who was never alone with them.
Investigators spoke with three witnesses who reported seeing West strike the 2-year-old boy. One person told police that West once saw the toddler eating cigarette ashes, adding that the child’s mother thought it was funny.
West is in custody; her bail was set at $100,000. If convicted of the malicious punishment charges, each one carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison. West could still be charged in the death of her 2-year-old son.
The toddler’s death marked the 32nd homicide in Minneapolis this year.
Source: CBS Minnesota