A Lakeland man has been charged with the abuse and death of a two-year-old boy.
On August 31, Lakeland Police were called to North Stella Avenue.
Officers found an unresponsive two-year-old named Mekhi Laster.
Laster’s mother, Lamonica Laster said she had last seen her son with Jamal Carson on September 1, saying that Carson was her best friend and had been caring for the toddler for the previous two weeks.
When officers found the young boy, he was lying face up on the living room floor.
Laster did not appear to be breathing, so officers began CPR until Lakeland Fire Rescue arrived and took over.
Mekhi Laster was brought to Lakeland Regional Hospital and was pronounced dead.
24-year-old Jamal Carson, who had been caring for the boy, says that Mekhi became “fussy”.
Carson thought the toddler was complaining of pain because he was suffering a broken foot.
Mekhi’s health continued to go downhill so Carson told police he brought the boy towards the air conditioning to cool him down but it did not work.
According to investigators, it wasn’t until 20 minutes later that Carson called for help.
During an autopsy, the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office reports finding bruises on the boy’s back, face and lip area.
He also showed injuries to his abdomen, a number of broken ribs, a broken pelvis, swollen scrotum, multiple internal injuries all believed to have been caused by blunt force trauma.
The report also shows severe internal bleeding and impacts to the child’s skull.
Carson admitted to police that he became frustrated with the toddler and says he punched him multiple times, squeezing him, slamming his head into the concrete floor at least two times and other intentional acts of abuse.
Police found Carson to be the only one caring for Mekhi at the time of the abuse.
Carson was charged with Aggravated Child Abuse and First Degree Murder.