A Smithville mother and her boyfriend were named in sealed indictments returned by the DeKalb County Grand Jury today (Tuesday) in the death of the woman's 23 month old son, Colten Alexander May over the weekend.
23 year old Cody Key is charged in the indictment with felony murder and aggravated child abuse while the child's mother 19 year old Jessica May is indicted on a charge of aggravated child neglect.
Bond for Key is set at one million dollars. May's bond is $300,000. Both will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday, May 22.
"The child suffered great injuries and as a result the child died," said District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway in an interview with WJLE Tuesday morning.
According to D.A. Dunaway, the child was brought to the hospital by the couple Sunday morning but he was already deceased. The youngster was found to have internal and other physical injuries to his body. Key is alleged to have inflicted the injuries. May is accused of having known the abuse had been taking place.
"At approximately 3:11 am Sunday Smithville Police Sergeant Travis Bryant and Officer Joey Myers were dispatched to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital in reference to a possible child abuse resulting in the death of a two year old child. Investigating officers deemed the death to be of a suspicious nature," said Captain Steven Leffew. " I was notified along with Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell . Additionally District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and investigators from the District Attorney's office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded," he said.
The case remains under investigation by the Smithville Police Department , the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the District Attorney General's Office.
"We presented the case to the DeKalb County Grand Jury (Tuesday, May 19) related to the death of a 23 month old male child," said D.A. Dunaway. " Over the weekend the child was brought to DeKalb Community Hospital by the child's mother and her boyfriend. The child was deceased at the time of arrival. We believe the child was killed by the boyfriend late Saturday night or early Sunday morning in their home where they resided together. We believe the child died based upon physical injuries to the body and internally which were inflicted by the boyfriend," he said.
"The DeKalb County Grand Jury issued true bills today (Tuesday) indicting both Cody Key with first degree felony murder. The mother of the child Jessica May has been indicted for aggravated child neglect based upon a pattern of abuse and neglect over a period of time. We believe that the allegations of continuous abuse and neglect of the child over a period of approximately one year was known by the mother and that she either participated in or allowed the events to happen," said D.A. Dunaway.
"We take these matters very seriously. The abuse and neglect of a child is very serious. It's one of the most horrendous types of crimes that one can imagine," he said.
"This is truly a tragic event. I pledge absolute commitment from the Smithville Police Department in the continued pursuit of justice in this case. Our prayers for strength and heartfelt condolences go out to the family," added Captain Leffew.
Count 1 of the indictment against Key alleges that "Cody Key, on or about the 16th or the 17th day of May, 2015, in DeKalb County did unlawfully, knowingly, and other than by accidental means treat a child born June 10, 2013 in such a manner as to inflict injury on the child and the act of abuse resulted in serious bodily injury to the child, thereby committing the offense of aggravated child abuse"
Count 2 of the indictment alleges that "Cody Key, on or about the 16th or 17th day of May, 2015, in DeKalb County did unlawfully and knowingly inflict fatal injuries upon the child during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and said injuries did cause the death of the child on or about the 16th or 17th day of May, 2015."
The indictment against May alleges that "between the 17th day of May, 2014 and the 17th day of May, 2015 in DeKalb County, Jessica May did unlawfully, knowingly, and other than by accidental means, neglect the child so as to adversely affect the health and welfare of the child, thereby committing the offense of aggravated child neglect".