NEWTON — A man already charged with injuring and abusing the 19-month-old son of his girlfriend now faces an additional charge in the case — first-degree murder.
After Harvey County Attorney David Yoder filed the murder charge against Chad Carr on Friday afternoon, Carr's bond was doubled to $300,000. Carr, 26, remains in jail.
Yoder brought the murder charge after receiving additional information about the cause of Vincent Hill's death. A coroner has ruled that the toddler's death in late March was a homicide, Yoder said.
"The verbal information I have received at this time gives me reason to believe that the evidence will show that the cause of death was a combination of injuries as a result of a physical beating as well as likely evidence of suffocation ... basically oxygen flow reduced or shut off to the brain," Yoder said.
He said he had been waiting on additional findings from specialized testing on the boy's brain before filing the murder charge.
Carr also faces two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of child abuse, in connection with injuries to Vincent.
An amended complaint filed in court Friday accuses Carr of:
• Murdering Vincent while committing child abuse on or about March 27
• Breaking the boy's left collarbone on or about March 27
• Causing a spiral fracture of Vincent's right lower leg on or about March 27
• Harming the child on or about March 25.
Carr's attorney, Charlie O'Hara, declined to comment Friday.
Authorities have said the child had bruising from head to toe. He was living with his 20-year-old mother and Carr at a duplex in North Newton.
The Eagle has previously reported that more than two months before Vincent died, a woman at the adjacent apartment called the state child protection agency and reported that she heard a man yelling at the boy next door, followed by the child screaming.
But the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services found no indication that the child had been harmed and ceased any investigation. SRS did not inform local law enforcement agencies of the reported screaming, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said.
One lesson of the tragedy, law enforcement officials have said, is the importance of calling 911 or police directly when child abuse is suspected.
Carr has been described as the live-in boyfriend of the toddler's mother, Katheryn Nycole Dale. She has been charged with child endangerment, child abuse and aggravated battery over injuries to her son.
She remains in jail on a $50,000 bond.
Carr is scheduled to appear in Harvey County District Court on Tuesday morning to hear the murder charge against him.
He was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at the same time — to determine whether there is probable cause to believe he committed the crimes and the case should go to trial. But there is a "good chance" that the preliminary hearing will be delayed because of the murder charge, Yoder said.
In a separate case, Carr has been charged with 16 counts of sexual exploitation of a child involving pornography. He is being held on a $75,000 bond in that case.