Police charge 11-year-old boy in death of baby brother

slyttle@charlotteobserver.comNovember 14, 2013 

Police have charged an 11-year-old boy in connection with the death of his baby brother last weekend in north Charlotte, detectives said Thursday.

Investigators say charges filed earlier against the victim’s mother have not been dropped, even though police say they have determined the mother was not home at the time of the alleged assault.

The 11-year-old, whose name has not been released, was charged with felony child abuse, police say.

Seven-month-old Camden Johnson died Saturday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and the Medical Examiner’s Office say the infant’s injuries were the result of an assault. Police found the child unresponsive when they arrived at a residence in the 6300 block of Suntrace Way shortly after noon on Saturday.

The infant’s mother, Wendy Latwann Johnson, 33, was charged Monday with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse.

After a court hearing Tuesday, the victim’s grandmother, Debra Johnson Sanders, told reporters her daughter had been running an errand at the time of the assault. WCNC-TV reported that Sanders said the 11-year-old confessed to police that he had dropped the child three times.

Capt. Cecil Brisbon of CMPD’s Homicide Division confirmed some of Sanders’ story Thursday, saying police believe “the mother was not home at the time (of the assault).”

He said he could not comment on what the 11-year-old’s motive might have been, or whether the mother had left the older brother alone with the infant before.

Brisbon said charges will remain against Wendy Johnson.

“We believe the mother is complicit in this crime,” he said. “Our goal is to charge everyone who is involved in a crime, and that people are charged at the appropriate level.”

Brisbon said police consulted with the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office and with other agencies before charging the 11-year-old and deciding not to drop charges against the mother.

Brisbon said charging a preteen with a serious crime is not commonplace.

“This is sad, all the way around,” he said. “But we try to hold all people accountable.”

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle

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