Mother charged with neglect in October death of 5-month-old son
BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondent February 28, 2014 5:22PM
Updated: April 2, 2014 6:14AM
A Gary woman whose 5-month-old son died of severe head injuries has been charged with neglect.
Siarra Morgan, 19, is accused of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, battery resulting in death and six other felony counts.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Morgan admitted to police in interviews that she had roughly handled Syrus Morgan, including shaking him and slamming him into the car seat, causing him to hit his head.
The Cook County, Ill., medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide due to multiple injuries that included multiple recent skull fractures, extensive brain injuries and retinal hemorrhaging. The baby also had healing rib fractures and other injuries.
Police and medics were called to Morgan’s residence at 4701 E. 10th Ave., for the unresponsive infant at about 6 p.m. Oct. 22. Morgan, who had walked to the store, left the baby with her boyfriend, Melvin McNair, who called Morgan to come back home after the baby fell from the bed and hit his head on the night stand. Syrus Morgan wasn’t breathing and was turning blue and going limp, court records state.
In a later statement to investigators, McNair said he had seen Morgan treat the infant roughly and noticed round bruises on the baby’s stomach. McNair had witnessed Morgan slam the baby in his car seat and shake him when he was crying, the probable cause affidavit states.
On the day the child went to the hospital, Morgan slammed the baby hard enough in the car seat to cause him to lose his breath and his eyes crossed, court records state. Morgan also violently rocked the car seat with her foot, causing Syrus’ head to bounce up and down, the probable cause affidavit states.
On Oct. 19, McNair told police before he left the residence the baby was crying and Morgan was yelling and cursing at the infant. The next day, the baby was fussy. On Oct. 21, the baby wouldn’t eat. And on Oct. 22, the baby was crying and not eating well.
Medics transported the baby to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, then transferred him to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where he was removed from life support at 7:32 a.m. Oct. 25 after being declared brain dead.
More than two months before Syrus died, he was taken to Methodist Hospital in Gary on Aug. 7 for bleeding on the brain from what was reported as a fall off the bed. There were no rib fractures at the time.
Two of the charges are punishable by 20 to 50 years. As of Friday afternoon, Morgan was not in custody.