Infant’s death results in murder charge against father
NORTH MANKATO — Murder charges were filed Friday against a North Mankato man who is accused of killing his 3-month-old boy.
Dawson Farris had stopped breathing and was turning blue when his father, 27-year-old Christopher Douglas Farris, brought him to Immanuel St. Joseph’s Hospital Wednesday morning. North Mankato detectives were called to the hospital a short time after the boy arrived at about 8:30 a.m.
“This is just a tragic case all around,” North Mankato Police Chief Chris Boyer said Friday after issuing a news release saying Christopher Farris had been arrested Thursday night.
After Dawson Farris was pronounced dead at 8:58 a.m. Wednesday, his body was sent to the Ramsey County medical examiner for an autopsy. The autopsy was performed Thursday by Dr. Kelly Mills, who determined the boy had died as a result of traumatic head trauma and the cause of death was homicide, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Nicollet County District Court.
There was evidence of internal head injuries, trauma to the optic nerve, a bruise on the back of the skull and a bite mark on the boy’s cheek, the complaint said.
Farris was interviewed by Lt. Nicole Adams of the North Mankato Police Department and Micheal Anderson, a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent, Thursday night. At the same time 23-year-old Keisha Keihanani Moniz, Dawson Farris’ mother, was interviewed by North Mankato detective Matt Greenough and BCA special agent Nathaniel Brovold.
According to the complaint, this is what the investigators were told by the boy’s parents:
Moniz said Christopher Farris started living with her and her other children shortly after Dawson was born in June. She said she started working about three weeks ago and Farris, who is unemployed, cared for Dawson and their 3-year-old son during the day.
Moniz said she woke Christopher Farris, but he was still in bed when she and her 6-year-old child left for work and school at about 7:30 a.m. She also said she had fed Dawson at about 6:30 a.m.
Farris told investigators he had been up until about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning because he was on the computer looking for a job. He said he got out of bed after Moniz left for work and Dawson started crying.
Farris said he “kinda jerked” Dawson when he picked him up out of a bouncy seat, using only the boy’s left arm to lift him up. Farris said that Dawson’s head might have hit a door as he walked the boy around their mobile home. After putting a pacifier in Dawson’s mouth and holding the boy’s mouth shut for about two minutes, Farris said he went outside to have a cigarette.
“When he came back inside, he noticed that Dawson was no longer crying and he went to check on him,” the complaint said. “When he entered the bedroom, he realized Dawson was gasping for breath.”
Farris told investigators he panicked at that point. He said he tried bouncing the boy and bit his cheek in an effort to arouse him. When that didn’t work, Farris woke his other son and loaded both boys into the car so they could go to the hospital.
“(Farris) said that Dawson was gasping for breath when he put him into the car, but that Dawson was no longer breathing and his lips were blue when he arrived at the hospital,” the complaint said.