Man Charged With Murder After Police Find Unresponsive Toddler in Closet

A man in Nebraska has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a two-year-old boy was found severely injured and unresponsive in a closet.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrived at an apartment in Fairbury shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Friday, according to the Hastings Tribune.

Deputies were carrying out a welfare check on a woman when she told them her child needed an ambulance, News Channel Nebraska reported.

The boy was found unresponsive in a closet with severe injuries, according to the broadcaster.

He was reportedly rushed to a local hospital before being airlifted to Omaha hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Jake Gonzalez, 18, who had been at the apartment on the 700 block of J Street when police arrived, was reportedly arrested on suspicion of murder.

Officers said he fled the property on foot and tried to evade the police after the ambulance was called, according to News Channel Nebraska.

An affidavit, seen by Omaha channel KETV, revealed that when deputies arrived, the woman appeared at the door with Gonzalez standing behind her.

The officers said they had tried to speak to the woman alone but Gonzalez tried to follow them. She then burst into tears, saying: "Call an ambulance for my son."

Gonzalez ran at this point and several officers gave chase, the affidavit said.

The woman led one of the deputies into a bedroom and opened the closet door where the young child was lying face down on the floor, KETV reported.

According to the channel, the affidavit said the toddler was only wearing a diaper and had bruising on his head, arms, legs, lips, chest and abdomen. He also reportedly had two black eyes.

The affidavit said the boy was found "lethargic and poorly responsive," and had "poor respiration."

It read: "I carried the child downstairs and advised the ambulance have priority response."

Gonzalez was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and child abuse among other counts, the broadcaster said.

News of his arrest came as a woman in Ohio was charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the death of her 6-year-old son.

Britney Gosney, 29, abandoned her son James Robert Hitchinson in Preble County Park before running him over when he attempted to get back in the car.

She dragged his body for a distance as the boy clung to the vehicle, police said. She then returned to dump his body in the Ohio River.

Gosney initially reported her young son missing, but later admitted he was dead.

Middletown police said in a statement on Monday: "Sadly, upon further questioning of Brittany Gosney and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, they now say that James was killed in Preble County a few days ago."

"The child's body was brought back to Middletown, where they live, and later put into the Ohio River."