A Kansas City man accused of beating a 16-month-old boy who later died of his injuries now faces second-degree murder charges in the child’s death.
A Jackson County grand jury indicted Nathaniel A. Littlefield on Friday in the death of Messiah D. Henderson, who died June 1 from severe injuries.
Littlefield also is charged with child neglect and child abuse.
Messiah was taken to a hospital late May 29 after his mother returned home from work and found him unresponsive with congestive breathing. He died June 1.
According to court records, his mother told police she left Messiah and his 5-month-old brother in Littlefield’s care while she was at work.
After Messiah arrived at a hospital, doctors determined that he had a severe head injury and a lacerated liver.
The mother later told investigators that she had been unable to contact Littlefield while she was at work the day Messiah was injured. When Littlefield picked her up at work that night, he told her that he had left the boys home alone because they were asleep.
When questioned by police, Littlefield said he repeatedly struck Messiah in the face and head, 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. He also said he had left the boys alone when he drove to pick up their mother at work.