A Florida couple is facing manslaughter charges after the woman’s 4-year-old son died from what police are calling extreme physical abuse.
News4Jax reports that in November, Chance Vanderpool, a 4 year-old autistic boy, died at the Ed Fraser Memorial Hospital in Macclenny. Medical experts said he had numerous bruises, a head injury, and a large “cigar-size” burn on his body.
CHARGES UPGRADED | Court records show new charges have been filed against this Baker County couple in the death of 4-year-old Chance Vanderpool.
The boy’s mother, Heather Naomi Stevenson, initially faced child neglect and aggravated child abuse charges, but it was in connections with her 2-year-old son. Police found the younger boy in the couple’s Cedar Creek Farms Road home with signs of abuse. Authorities also arrested Stevenson’s boyfriend, Jonathan Todd Register, for abusing Chance’s younger brother.
In June, the couple learned that prosecutors also filed charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit manslaughter against them, in connection with Chance’s death. Authorities arrested the couple and a judge set their bond amount at $2.5 million each.
Before being charged for his death, Stevenson took to Facebook to mourn the loss of Chance.
“My beautiful baby boy Chance is now my beautiful guardian angel. He went to heaven this morning. I can’t tell you details because I don’t have them myself. I ask that you say a prayer for my boys and remember my sweet baby and all the joy he brought to the world in his short life. Fly high Channy, Mommy would give her life for you to have a chance to live yours again.”
When Chance arrived at the hospital, he had swelling and bruising on his face, bruises on his back and buttocks, a skull fracture, and a huge burn on his left foot. His 2-year-old little brother was admitted to the hospital with blood in his diaper, genital bruising, dried up blood in his nostrils, bruising on his body, and scabs on his head.
According to Stevenson, Chance developed the injury on his head after a dog knocked him down a flight of stairs. She also said the boy fell and hit his head while taking a shower.
Chance’s little brother recovered from his injuries and is now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Two other siblings who lived in the home were also removed and placed in DCF custody.
Check back with Crime Online as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Family Handout]