MINNEAPOLIS - A St. Bonifacius woman and her boyfriend were charged with second degree murder Thursday in the February death of her toddler.
Shacara Foster, 27, and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Kentae Todd of Coon Rapids, are also each charged with a gross misdemeanor of child neglect.
A criminal complaint says that Minnetrista police were called to a home in St. Bonifacius on late the night of February 10 and found a 19-month-old boy - referred to in the criminal complaint by his initials C.L.S. - not breathing. He was rushed to a hospital in Waconia where he was declared dead.
Autopsy results showed the boy died from an infection that was caused by a severe burn to his hand but doctors also found fractures to the toddler's skull, wrist, ribs, arm and leg. He also had hemorrhaging to the brain, internal bleeding, numerous cuts, bruises and at least one cigarette burn.
Interviews with witnesses characterized Foster as a woman who would leave her son and a baby daughter with "just anyone" to get away from them. The couple was living in squalor in the St. Bonifacius home with the two children and 13 other people, surrounded by rotting garbage, dead animals, feces, and otherwise filthy conditions.
The two suspects gave investigators significantly different versions of the boy's final hours, telling of a fall down the stars, the child burning his hand in a pot of noodles, and giving him adult medicine to head off a rapidly escalating fever.
Dr. Lindsey Thomas of the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's office concluded that the cause of the child's death was complications from neglect, and that the manner of his death was homicide.
The criminal complaint states: "Photos show a desperately ill, battered and injured child. His head and face alone show numerous bruises, scabs and injuries. These injuries would have been apparent to anyone who saw the child on Friday, February 10. At no time on that date, nor at any time between when she left C.L.S. and when paramedics came did the defendant[s] seek attention for C.L.S."
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