ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – An 11-year-old boy accused of strangling a 4-year-old boy had a history of disturbing behavior, including choking another child until the child turned blue in the face and carrying around dead farm animals, according to sheriff’s deputies.
The past problems were detailed in an arrest report for the older child. It was obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Authorities say the two boys lived together with their mothers, who are a couple, in a mobile home in north Florida. Around 4 a.m. Monday, a male friend staying at the home was awakened by the older boy and found the 4-year-old slumped over, unresponsive with blood coming out of his mouth, the arrest report said.
The man called 911 and the 11-year-old’s mother tried to revive the younger boy. Putnam County sheriff’s deputies responded and observed “some suspicious bruises” on the 4-year-old’s neck, the arrest report said.
The child was rushed to a Gainesville hospital about 45 miles away and pronounced dead around midday Tuesday. A detective photographed the child’s body and “noted several factors consistent with strangulation.”
Before the death, the older boy was taken to a juvenile detention facility and charged with aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm. Putnam County Sheriff’s Capt. Richard Schauland said in an email to AP on Wednesday that officials were waiting on an autopsy to determine the cause of death before deciding on any new charges.
Investigators didn’t immediately have a motive for the attack.
Florida Department of Children and Families spokesman John Harrell said Wednesday that its Critical Incident Rapid Response Team will be reviewing the 4-year-old’s death and would issue a report within 30 days.
“We just started our investigation. We’re nowhere near determining whether abuse or neglect by the caregivers led to death of this child,” Harrell said.
The 11-year-old boy and his mother are named in the police report, but the AP doesn’t generally name juveniles charged with crimes and is not naming the mother to protect his identity.
The child’s mother told investigators that she has had trouble with him for several years. When he was 4, he lit his crib on fire with a lighter. He also dug up their dead farm animals, cut their limbs off and carried them around, his mother said. The report doesn’t say when or how long this occurred.
There were also several instances in which the 11-year-old was accused of “sexually deviant behaviors” as a victim and as a perpetrator, and within the past year had gone to a sexual treatment facility for juveniles, the report said.
The boy was recently released back into the home. After a few weeks of good behavior, his mother noted that he had “become increasingly angrier.” She also said that the boys would often argue and fight.
In another incident, the mother said her son was caught choking another child to the point of turning blue in the face before she was able to stop him. The report doesn’t specify how old her son was at the time.