Boyfriend charged in death of toddlerAPRIL 15 2010Griffith boy, 3, died of severe head and genital injurieshttp://www.post-trib.com/news/lake/2...tt0415.articleFor 19 hours, 3-year-old Comer Watkins lay unconscious in his Griffith apartment from severe head and genital injuries.
When the toddler's mother came home from work at 2 p.m. Monday, the toddler was unresponsive.
An ambulance rushed him to Community Hospital in Munster, then airlifted him to University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, where authorities determined his injures were the result of severe physical abuse.
At 12:02 p.m. Tuesday, Comer was pronounced dead.
Court records indicate the boy died as a result of child abuse, but Griffith police Detective Lt. Don McCarter said an autopsy hadn't been conducted as of Wednesday afternoon.
The man who was supposed to be caring for the child, Levi Edward Hiatt, 26, of the 1700 block of North Arbogast Street, Griffith, faces three counts of neglect of a dependent in Lake Superior Court in Crown Point.
The charges are punishable by a maximum 50-year sentence.
Hiatt, the boyfriend of Comer's mother, is being held at the Lake County Jail.
Hiatt initially lied to police and said he'd accidentally dropped the child while playing with him, and his legs went on either side of a child safety rail on the bed.
During a subsequent interview, Hiatt said he laid Comer down for a nap on Sunday, and around 7 p.m. he went into his bedroom and jumped high into the air to land on his bed to awaken the boy, according to court records.
Hiatt said he misjudged his landing and landed his right knee into the boy's genitals very hard.
Hiatt told police he rushed the screaming, crying child into the bathroom to check for injuries.
He sat Comer down in front of the bathtub and told him to pull down his pants, but the boy continued to scream and cry.
Hiatt said he became frustrated and panicked.
He grabbed the boy's lower legs and pulled him forward "with considerable force," causing the child to fall backward, court records state.
The back of the child's head hit the top side of the bathtub and the child fell to the floor, striking his head again and knocking him unconscious.
Instead of calling 911, Hiatt said he iced the boy's genitals, put a diaper on him, dressed him in his pajamas and laid him on his bed.
The boy's mother left for work at about 4 p.m. Sunday and got home after midnight. She got up at 10:30 a.m. Monday and left for work about an hour later while her son was sleeping, which she told police was not uncommon.
Court records indicate the child had retinal hemorrhages, swelling and bleeding in the brain, acute traumatic injury to the penis and multiple bruises along the spinal column and extremities.lake superior court
Medical Examiner rules Griffith boy's death a homicideAPRIL 17 2010Head injuries killed 3-year-old[/CENTER]http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/l...6e4c19348.htmlCROWN POINT | The Cook County Medical Examiner declared the death of 3-year-old Comer Watkins a homicide, a spokeswoman for the office said Friday.
The child died of a subdural hematoma resulting from a head trauma due to child abuse, according to autopsy results.
Court records contend the child was left untended in an unconscious state for 19 hours after suffering two blows to his head, severe injuries to his genitals and bruising to his right leg and back.
Though initiated Wednesday, charges against Hiatt were not finalized by the Lake County Clerk's office until Thursday morning.
Prosecutors charged Hiatt with three felony counts of neglect of a dependent. Hiatt faces a maximum 50-year prison sentence if convicted.
Court documents show police were called about 2 p.m. Monday to an address on the 1700 block of North Arbogast Street, where Hiatt shared a home with the child's mother.
Rescinding earlier statements, Hiatt told police he jumped high in the air to land on the child's bed and awaken him from a nap. Hiatt said he misjudged his landing and hit the child in the genitals as he came down on the bed, court records show. Becoming frustrated with the crying child, Hiatt said he pulled the child forward by the legs causing the boy to fall backward and hit his head on the bathtub and then on the floor.
Hiatt is alleged to have chosen not to call for help or inform his girlfriend of the child's condition for 19 hours before calling 911.
Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Friday that given Watkins' ruling, his office planned to meet with Griffith police next week to discuss possible additional charges against Hiatt.
Man appears in court in death of 3-year-old
APRIL 24 2010http://www.post-trib.com/news/2194390,hiatt0424.articleA man charged with neglect of a dependent in the death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son in Griffith appeared in court Friday with his attorney.
Levi Edward Hiatt, 26, of the 200 block of West 7th Place, pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of neglect of a dependent while represented by defense attorney James Thiros.
The most serious of the felonies carries a maximum 50-year sentence.
Hiatt posted $10,000 bond in the case on April 15 after he was charged in the death of Comer Watkins. The Cook County, Ill., medical examiner's office ruled Comer's death a homicide.
Authorities said the toddler lay unconscious in an apartment shared by Hiatt and the boy's mother in the 1700 block of North Argobast Street for 19 hours before the mother came home.
The boy died April 13 from head trauma due to child abuse.
Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said additional charges could be filed against Hiatt, but no decision had been made Friday afternoon.