Kansas City police have identified a 16-month-old boy who died Wednesday from injuries suffered after being beaten as Messiah D. Henderson.
Jackson County prosecutors on Wednesday charged Nathaniel A. Littlefield with child abuse or neglect in the boy’s death. Littlefield also faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Messiah was taken to a hospital late Sunday after his mother returned home from work and found the toddler unresponsive. The mother later told investigators she left the child and his 5-month-old brother with Littlefield on Sunday while she was at work.
After the injured boy arrived at the hospital, doctors determined that he had a severe head injury and a lacerated liver.
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The mother also told police that she had been unable to contact Littlefield during the day Sunday. When he picked her up at work that night, police said, he told her that he had left the boys home alone because they were asleep.
Littlefield later admitted to investigators that he repeatedly hit Messiah in the face and head, according to prosecutors, but he said he did so in an attempt to revive him. He told police that no other adults were with the children that day.
Littlefield also told police he left the boys alone when he drove to pick up their mother at work.
The criminal charges were filed before Messiah died. The case remains under investigation.
Messiah’s death is the city’s 41st homicide of the year.