PD: Caretaker in custody after death of 23-month-old boy in Surprise

Posted at 1:55 PM, Nov 03, 2016

A 23-month-old Surprise boy has died after allegedly being abused by a woman taking care of him.

The Surprise Fire and Medical Department responded to reports of a child injured at a home near Greenway Road and Cotton Lane on Wednesday afternoon.

When crews arrived on the scene, they found a young boy not breathing. He was immediately airlifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition. A hospital physician informed crews the child had suffered a serious brain injury from head trauma and was not expected to survive.

Police confirmed Friday morning the boy passed away from his injuries.

After interviewing several family members of the child, police determined the child’s injury, and death, was a direct result of caregiver Litzet Moreno.

Before the boy passed, a family member commented, "[Adam] just looks like he's asleep, fighting for his life at the hospital,” said Monique Akee, who identified herself as the victim's aunt. "He's just a baby, he's just an innocent baby."

Moreno originally told police the child had not been feeling well since Wednesday and even vomited a few times, but denied any form of abuse.

After further questioning by police, Moreno admitted that after becoming frustrated the child was crying and refused to eat, she threw him on the floor, causing him to strike his head. Wh3 then proceeded to pick him and up and throw him back down on the floor. 

Police say her account is consistent with the injuries the child sustained. 

Akee said she was not aware of any previous incidents between the suspect and the victim. She also said the victim's mother, Danica Akee, shares custody of Adam with the victim's father and that the father was likely working when the suspect allegedly abused Adam.

Police say the 36-year-old has been booked into Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail for one count of felony child abuse.