A Pennsylvania mother is on trial for charges related to the homicide of her toddler son last year.
According to the York Dispatch, 22-year-old Leah Lynnette Mullinix appeared in court on Thursday where she declined a preliminary hearing on a criminal count of child endangerment. She was released on a $10,000 unsecured bail.
Her son, 2-year-old Dante Mullinix, died on September 14 — one week before he would have turned 3 — while in the care of a man his mother reportedly only knew for a matter of weeks, police say. Tyree Marche’ll Bowie was charged with homicide and child endangerment soon after the boy’s death.
Investigators say Leah Mullinix was at an area hospital at the time Dante sustained the injuries. Bowie allegedly dropped her off to receive treatment for migraines and evidence shows she remained there for several hours.
Police reports indicate the man and woman provided inconsistent stories to officers, but show that surveillance footage backs up the claim Bowie and the boy stopped at a local store after stopping at the hospital. Detectives found the man was the only person caring for the child until Dante also ended up at the hospital with what would turn out to be fatal injuries.
Dante was admitted to the York Hospital at about 10:30 p.m. on September 6. He was subsequently transferred to Hershey Hospital and was pronounced dead more than a week later. An autopsy found multiple causes of death, including a brain injury, strangulation and chest compression. The boy was also covered in bruises and other injuries, according to reports. Police say he did not appear injured when he was seen entering the store with Bowie.
The injuries came just days after social workers with the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families responded to claims of child abuse against Dante, as Penn Live reported. Officials who interacted with Leah Mullinix on September 2 reportedly ordered her fill two prescriptions a doctor had already written for the boy.
Records show he was admitted to York Hospital near the end of August for a genital infection commonly linked to lack of proper personal care. Leah Mullinix reportedly missed a court date set for just days later, shortly before her son sustained the deadly injuries.
Sarah Mullinix, Leah’s sister, had allowed the mother and son to live with her until an argument in June led her to ask them to leave. She claims child abuse predated the introduction of Bowie into her nephew’s life and said she had been working toward being awarded custody of Dante in the months leading up to his death.
Leah and Dante Mullinix moved into a homeless shelter after leaving Sarah’s residence, according to investigators. Staff at that facility reported the mother for suspected child abuse, police reports indicate.
Given what prosecutors call an “ongoing course of conduct,” the charge against Mullinix is a felony.
[Featured image: Dante Mullinix, Facebook]