Banning police said Monday they will ask prosecutors to file murder charges against the stepfather and mother of a 2-year-old Banning boy who died after being hospitalized with head and body injuries.
Andrew Lee Payne, 24, and Davia Damanique James, 22, were arrested Thursday.
Police suspect Payne caused the child’s injuries last Monday, and the couple waited two days to seek medical attention for the boy.
“When this child or any child experiences any type of head trauma, any type of injury, you call right away,” Banning police Chief Leonard Purvis told ABC7 in Los Angeles. “And that’s what is so suspicious about this case, is they waited two days. God knows what they were thinking, what they were planning. But this child suffered.”
Authorities were notified of the child’s injuries about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, two days after the boy suffered an unspecified injury, police said.
The boy was taken to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital then transferred to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. He was declared brain dead about 7:30 p.m. Friday and died a short time later.
Payne was originally booked into county jail on suspicion of felony child cruelty and bail was set at $20,000. James was booked on suspicion of child negligence, with bail set at $5,000.
Banning police Sgt. Alex Diaz said that as a result of the boy’s death, Payne and James were additionally booked on suspicion of child cruelty resulting in death, and bail was increased for both to $250,000.
Police plan to present the case to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.