Portsmouth woman indicted on murder charge in toddler’s death

Name : JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE, The Virginian-Pilot

PORTSMOUTH – A woman has been accused of murdering a 2-year-old boy she was caring for in October, when he suffered injuries that doctors suspected show abuse.

Koby Stewart Jr. suffered injuries so severe he suffered seizures and could not walk or talk, according to police. His face, chest and back were bruised when he was admitted to a hospital.

He died a week later .

A grand jury on Thursday indicted Shawntisha Y. Gatling , 21 , on charges of murder and child neglect, according to court records. Robert E. Waddler , 25 , was also indicted Thursday on a charge of child neglect in connection to the case. In a search warrant, police identified Waddler as Gatling’s boyfriend.

Police had not yet arrested the accused Friday afternoon.

Neither they nor the victim’s family could be reached.

Gatling and Waddler were caring for Koby at an apartment in the Dale Homes neighborhood, according to the search warrant. Gatling called Cyntra Pete, the boy’s mother, on Oct. 6 , and said Koby was not responding, according to the warrant. Pete picked him up and took him to Maryview Medical Center . The child was later taken to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters .

Gatling had told investigators Koby had walked into a wall and been jumping on a bed, police wrote. Yet when a forensic pediatrician examined Koby, he found the injuries were “consistent with abuse and not from a fall off a bed or walking into a wall.”

An autopsy found the cause of death to be “inflicted traumatic brain injury,” police wrote in the search warrant.

• Reach John Doucette at (757) 446-2793 or [email protected]

Source : http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=104046&ran=152457


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