No matter what bothered 1-year-old Legacy Beauford the day before he died, all he could do was cry.
This frustrated her mother’s boyfriend, Keishawn Gordon, who babysat to himself through Wednesday night.
When police questioned Mr Gordon about Legacy’s injuries after the baby died on Thursday, he first told investigators that he gently squeezed the boy’s stomach and tossed it in the air to calm him down in the family apartment in the Bronx’s Webster Houses, according to a criminal complaint filed in court after Mr. Gordon’s arrest on Friday.
But he later admitted to punching and sexually assaulting him, police said. The medical examiner found bruises all over Legacy’s face and body, several broken ribs and a lacerated liver, which left him bleeding to death inside, according to the criminal complaint.
“I was frustrated that he kept crying,” Gordon said, according to the complaint. “He kept throwing up. I jostled him. He annoyed me.
Mr Gordon, 23, has been charged with murder and manslaughter in a Bronx criminal court. His lawyer did not respond to phone calls seeking comment on Sunday.
Since his arrest, questions have arisen as to whether police and child welfare services noticed the boy was being abused. The Children’s Services Administration said it was investigating the boy’s death.
The case follows the death in August of a 7-year-old girl, Julissia Batties, who was fatally beaten after being reunited with her birth mother. There were no arrests in her case, but her family had frequent contact with child welfare authorities, courts and the police before her birth.
Police have admitted responding to at least three 911 calls about a crying baby at Legacy’s home since May, two of which have been reported as potentially abused. Officers found nothing suspicious when they responded to the first call on May 27, police said.
Police responded on July 3 and August 17 to the two subsequent reports of possible child abuse, but responding officers reported that they observed the children in the apartment to be healthy, with no marks or visible injuries, police said.
In addition to the three 911 calls, authorities received at least one other report regarding the family.
A person briefed on the case, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential details, said that on July 14, city social workers and a special detective for victims were assigned to investigate a report by the state child abuse hotline alleges Legacy’s older brother was sexually abused. The police investigation was subsequently closed, but no children were examined or questioned, the person said.
It is not known why police closed the case or how the city’s child welfare agency handled one of the appeals. On Sunday, the police department did not respond to a question about the July 14 appeal, and the Children’s Services Administration said it was prohibited by law to discuss the history of the family.
Mr Gordon had a criminal record that included at least five arrests, including charges of robbery in 2019 and assault in 2018, according to police.
Legacy was one of two young boys who police say have been killed in recent days by their mother’s partners.
Officers patrolling Gowanus homes in Brooklyn were reported to assist a 4-year-old boy on Sunday who was unconscious. Police attempted to resuscitate him while they were waiting for an ambulance, but were unsuccessful, and the boy later died in hospital, police said.
On the way to the mother’s apartment on the fourth floor, officers encountered neighbors who said the boy’s 6-year-old brother had fled to their apartment. The boy told them that his 27-year-old stepfather had attacked him and beat his younger brother, police said.
While the police were there, the police received a 911 call from a man threatening to kill himself. It turned out to be the children’s stepfather, who was found unharmed and taken to hospital for a psychiatric assessment, police said.
It is not known if the family has a history with the police or child welfare authorities. The police did not provide the names of the woman or her sons.
Nikeya Birmingham, 32, who lives directly above the family, said the couple had been in the building for about a year. She said she had called the police at least four times over the past year because they were yelling at each other so loud it sometimes woke her up in the middle of the night.
This was the case around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, she said.
“I hear it all screaming through the vent,” she said. “I was shouting in the pipes: ‘Go to bed! Shut your mouth!'”
Although the couple had an argument, she said she never heard from the children or suspected they were being abused.
“He’s supposed to walk to school tomorrow like all these other kids, with a new backpack and new shoes,” Birmingham said of the 4-year-old. “Now he will never breathe again. “
Another 4-year-old boy died Saturday in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. However, police said investigators did not suspect foul play.
Chelsea Rose Marcius contributed reports.