WALKER, Minn. — A 20-year-old man has been charged in Cass County (Minn.) District Court in the death of a 3-month old child.
Presley Arron Sleyster is charged with one count of second-degree murder, which accuses him of unintentionally causing the death of an infant he was caring for on Dec. 5.
According to court documents:
On Dec. 5, Cass County deputies were called to the rural Staples home where Sleyster resides on a report of an infant who had suffered a seizure and was having difficulty breathing.
The deputies encountered Sleyster on the front steps of the home, and they found two women inside, one of whom was tending to an infant and another who was talking on the phone with emergency workers.
A deputy confirmed the child was having trouble breathing and the 3-month-old was taken to the hospital.
On Dec. 7, a doctor declared the child was brain dead and medical records indicated the child showed signs of head trauma typically found in cases of child abuse.
An autopsy found a bruise behind the right ear of the child and a skull fracture on the right side of the child's head.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the child's death a homicide from blunt force homicidal violence.
In an initial interview with authorities, Sleyster said he was not the child's biological father but he considered the child to be his own and he was the boy's primary caregiver when the child's mother was at work.
Sleyster said when he woke up the child on Dec. 5 the baby immediately began screaming and continued to scream until suddenly going "stiff as a board."
Sleyster said he called his grandmother to ask what he should do, and she advised him to call 911.
Sleyster told authorities he did not know how the child could have been hurt.
In a later interview with investigators, Sleyster said it was possible the child may have hit his head on a stairway railing or door frame while he was carrying him.
He said the child could also have hit his head on a nightstand as Sleyster was holding him and reached for a bottle to feed the child.
Sleyster also told authorities he had told the child's mother: "I'm the one at fault for this (because) it happened on my care."
Sleyster appeared in court Monday morning, Dec. 31, and conditions of release were set at $1 million bail or bond without conditions, or $500,000 bail or bond with conditions.