An Illinois couple is facing criminal charges for the beating death of the woman’s 2-year-old son—which reportedly occurred two days after a caseworker visited the home amid neglect and abuse allegations.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the contracted Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworker found that Ja’hir Gibbons and his 5-year-old brother were safe at Brittany Hyc’s home last weekend. Two days later, on Monday, police responded to an apartment where a neighbor was performing CPR on the unresponsive toddler while Hyc, 28, stood near her older son.
An autopsy determined Gibbons died of injuries stemming from child abuse and deemed his death a homicide. The Tribune reported the 5-year-old was found to be “covered in bruises” and was hospitalized for his injuries.
Hyc has since been charged with child endangerment, while her boyfriend, Dejon Waters, 21, were charged with first-degree murder after allegedly confessing to abusing Gibbons on the day he died. The Tribune noted that Hyc is facing criminal charges for leaving Gibbons in Waters’ care despite knowing that he’s harmed the toddler before.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, prosecutors said Hyc found Gibbons unresponsive on the floor of her Washington Park home after getting off of work and picking her 5-year-old son up from school. Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Hyc waited 20 minutes to go to a neighbor’s home for help—instead questioning Waters on what happened to her son.
Waters’ allegedly went to purchase cigarettes while Hyc sought help from a neighbor who ultimately called police.
Prosecutors alleged Waters admitted to beating Gibbons with his hands and a rolled-up t-shirt after getting angry at him on Monday, causing him to foam from the mouth. Murphy revealed that the 2-year-old had rib fractures which were at different stages of healing in addition to a new wrist fracture.
The Sun-Times reported that Murphy also said the toddler also had liver lacerations and a lung contusion—which only could’ve occurred if he was subjected to “significant blunt force trauma.”
Hyc reportedly told authorities that she noticed bruises on Gibbons a week or two before his death and claimed that burns on his face were caused by toothpaste. However, an inspection of her iPad uncovered that Hyc had allegedly searched for how to hide bruises in the days leading up to the 2-year-old’s death.
The Tribune reported that DCFS was involved with Hyc as recently as October after receiving an abuse allegation “involving the mother and Ja’hir.” The agency stayed in touch with the family through home visits and therapy for Hyc, in addition to ongoing speech and developmental therapy for Gibbons, according to a DCFS spokesperson.
Employees contracted through DCFS found the children were safe during the March 16 visit, which came two days before Gibbons’ death. The agency reportedly has custody of Hyc’ 5-year-old son in light of his younger brother’s death.
Waters was denied bail on Thursday. Hyc was ordered to remain jailed on $200,000 bail.
[Featured image: Brittany Hyc, Dejon Waters/Chicago Police Department; Ja’hir Gibbons/WGN-TV]