MANKATO, Minn. — A 16-year-old boy is charged with murder in the death of a Mankato toddler in south-central Minnesota.
The 2-year-old boy was beaten and raped, and investigators suspect a teen who gave them conflicting statements was involved.
Lee Wayne Young Jr., of Mankato, is charged with second-degree murder in Blue Earth County Juvenile Court. Charges against juveniles age 16 and 17 are public in Minnesota. The Blue Earth County attorney’s office is seeking to have him tried as an adult.
According to the petition charging Young:
A juvenile relative reportedly found the toddler unresponsive April 16 in an apartment at 301 Eastport Drive. The toddler was taken to the Mankato hospital and he was pronounced dead.
The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide. The autopsy found “multiple traumatic injuries” that were “consistent with physical blows to the head and a sexual assault.” The injuries included facial bruising and bleeding, a brain bleed, anal trauma and bruising on his chest, back and legs.
Which of the injuries caused the death was not immediately clear.
“The medical examiner determined there were so many contusions he could not count the number of blows that were delivered,” the petition states.
A hair was collected from the boy’s body as possible evidence. The body already was in rigor mortis when police officers arrived at the apartment at about 4:30 p.m.
The toddler’s mother flagged down an officer who was leaving the scene of another unrelated call nearby. The mother and her boyfriend told officers “the dogs did it,” but there were no injuries consistent with a dog attack.
The mother later told authorities she left the toddler home with Young, who is her boyfriend’s son, and a 12-year-old girl. The girl called her and told her the toddler was not breathing, she said.
The girl told investigators she and Young and the toddler were home alone. She went into the toddler’s room to check on him during an unusually long nap and found him bleeding and cold. She called the toddler’s mother, whom she said arrived home soon after with her boyfriend.
Young’s father told authorities his son was not at the apartment until he was asked to check on the toddler and the girl shortly before police arrived.
Young gave varying accounts to investigators. He first said he arrived at the home shortly after the girl found the boy. He later claimed he arrived after police were already there. Lastly he said he carried the toddler downstairs after the girl found him unresponsive and waited 20 minutes for the boy’s mother and his father to arrive.
Young refused to give a DNA sample. He was later compelled by a warrant to give one and the results are still pending.
Investigators noted other inconsistencies between the statements and the evidence.
Officers who were investigating an unrelated call nearby reported seeing Young and the 12-year-old outside a few minutes before the mother flagged down another officer. Young appeared to be speaking curtly to the girl, but the officers did not hear what he was saying.
A photo was found on the mother’s phone of the toddler lying on the couch. It was time stamped several minutes before police were summoned.
A web camera was found in a vehicle used by Young’s father. Someone who knows the father told an investigator the father told him he took the webcam “to protect the kids.”