By the time the 2-year-old South Dakota boy arrived at the hospital, he’d been dead for hours.
His lifeless body was covered in bite marks, according to doctors who attended to the child at an Indian Health Services hospital on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on July 28, 2016. Bruises covered 70 percent of his body — some new and some old, an autopsy revealed.
The boy’s skull appeared fractured, doctors said. And the child’s mother, Katrina Shangreaux, of Porcupine, S.D., was responsible for the injuries that led to his death, according to a criminal complaint.
Shangreaux told the FBI the fatal beating began when she came home and found the child had wet the bed, court records said.
Nearly two years later, Shangreaux submitted a plea agreement in U.S. District Court on Monday indicating she will plead guilty to killing her 2-year-old son, Kylen Shangreaux. Pleading guilty to the second-degree murder charges could lead to a sentence of life in prison, the Rapid City Journal reports.
Shangreaux admitted she lost her temper with the child when she found his bed wet — and that it led her to hit him with a belt, toss him on the ground, kick him and bite him, court records said. Shangreaux also injured the child’s genitals, doctors found.
But Shangreaux got most angry, she told authorities, when the 2-year-old child “gave her a sideways look” and referred to her as “Angie,” the Journal reports.
Angie was the name of the child’s aunt, with whom he had lived until Shangreaux regained custody of Kylen through a tribal court just weeks before the deadly beating, according to court records.
Shangreaux was drinking heavily and taking pain medication before the child’s death, court records said. The beating only stopped when Shangreaux “saw that he appeared different and realized how badly she had injured him,” the Journal reports.
Shangreaux and her mother called for help after the child tumbled to the ground and soiled himself as they tried to give him apple juice, court records said. But before the ambulance arrived, they wiped away his blood and feces.
A neighbor told the FBI that he heard screaming from the home around 5 a.m. the day the child died. Shangreaux lived with her mother, Sonya Dubray, who told agents that Shangreaux had been “arguing with” the child over potty training, the complaint said. Dubray also provided “multiple excuses” for the child’s extensive, deadly injuries, but none was consistent with the child’s deadly wounds, according to the FBI.
Dubray was arrested and charged with misleading authorities in the case, the Associated Press reports. Federal agents said she washed the child’s clothes after the incident and cleaned up the crime scene.
After the child was pronounced dead, Shangreaux fled, according to the FBI. When she was arrested, she initially pleaded not guilty, AP reports.
The case sparked outrage and led to changes in how the tribe handles child protective services, KOTA reports. Three judges involved in the decision to return Kylen to his birth mother were removed for their handling of the case.
“We need to start focusing on the best interest of the child,” Angie Shangreaux, who cared for Kylen until custody was awarded to his birth mother weeks before his death, told the TV station.
Kylen’s father, James Shangreaux, Sr., is currently in federal prison for abusing and neglecting a half-brother of Kylen, CBS reports — leading to that 1-year-old child’s death in April 2015.