MICHIGAN CITY | The mother and grandmother of a 2-year-old Michigan City boy who died from physical abuse are now in custody following the arrest of the mother's boyfriend, who was charged with murder.
Regina Brown, the boy's mother, was charged Wednesday with Class A felony neglect of a dependent.
Derris Baylor, the boy's grandmother, was charged with Class D felony obstruction of justice and Class B misdemeanor failure to report child abuse or neglect.
Tommy Shannon Jr., 22, was returned from the Vanderburgh County Jail in Evansville on Monday to face charges of murder and two counts of battery.
Nizeir Brown on Aug. 13 was taken to the hospital with convulsions and later died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen, according to court documents.
LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi said the boy was punched by Shannon hard enough "that his pancreas was basically split in half."
He said an autopsy also showed he had been subject to physical abuse previously.
Brown is accused of knowing the abuse was occurring but doing nothing to stop her boyfriend.
Baylor allegedly knew abuse was taking place but never went to the proper authorities to report it, and allegedly instructed a 4-year-old boy in the home "how to talk to the police" so the defendant would not get in trouble, said Szilagyi.
Szilagyi said the boy had been in the hospital a week previously with a high fever and due to suspicions from doctors about his latest emergency room visit an autopsy was performed.
He said how long Nizeir was being abused was still not known but it appears that it had been taking place "for awhile."
So far, there has been no motive for why the abuse was occurring.
"I don't know. We have no statements from him. We can only speculate," said Szilagyi.