LAKE CITY, Fla. – Dwight Tyre III has been charged with manslaughter of a child after his girlfriend's son, who he is accused of abusing, died Wednesday afternoon.
The seriously injured 11-month-old baby was unresponsive and having trouble breathing when he was brought to Lake City Medial Center on Tuesday, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. The medical staff told deputies the the trauma was consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
The boy was airlifted to UF Health Gainesville and died just over 24 hours later. The child would have turned a year old on Thursday.
Tyre, 23, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with felony battery and child cruelty. According to the arrest report, he initially told deputies that their dog knocked the boy over a couple of weeks ago and the child sustained a head injury. Later in the interview, he admitted that his actions caused the child's head injury.
Tyre was booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility and initially held without bond. A judge set bond at $120,000, which was posted and Tyre was released on Wednesday.
The baby's mother, Molly Hill, was interviewed and released to be with her son at the hospital. The report said Tyre was the last person with the boy before the injury was reported.
"I don't know if (Tyre) was staying there at the time or what, but he was apparently with the child," Cpl. Murray Smith said. "(The mother) was at home also, but he was alone with the child."
The home and vehicle were searched Wednesday. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause and manner of death.
In announcing the child's death, detectives said they would coordinate with the State Attorney's Office on filing new charges against Tyre.
"He was always just as pleasant and nice as he could be," said Amanda Stephens, who lives across the street from the couple. "Always talked nice to me. I just (saw) them as a sweet couple."
Tyre was arrested again Friday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child. He is being held without bond.
The Sheriff's Office said there were no previous reports of incidents with the child. The Florida Department of Children and Families, which is also investigating the boy's death, urged parents to choose partners carefully and make their children's safety their first priority.