JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother of a 2-year-old boy, who shot himself last month and died, and her boyfriend have been arrested, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.
Donna Crump-Piedra, Jayden James Piedra's mother, is charged with two counts of culpable negligence and two counts of child neglect. Lephabion Griggs, Crump-Piedra's boyfriend, is charged with one count of culpable negligence.
Sheriff's Office Lt. Craig Waldrup said Jayden was found with a gunshot wound the morning of Feb. 9 at the Morningstar Apartments on Jammes Road, where he, Crump-Piedra and her 7-year-old son had been staying with Griggs. Waldrup said Crump-Piedra and Griggs had a "dating relationship."
Waldrup said homicide detectives learned that the 2-year-old and the 7-year-old began playing with a loaded handgun that had been left unsecured on a table while Crump-Piedra and Griggs were sleeping on a couch nearby. According to Waldrup, the 7-year-old told police Jayden got the gun and shot himself. Jayden died at UF Health hospital.
"Evidence at the scene and autopsy confirmed his account," Waldrup said.
Waldrup noted the gun had been reported stolen. Investigators said Jayden’s tragic death could have easily been prevented if the gun had been properly locked away.
Crump-Piedra previously told News4Jax her 7-year-old son witnessed the fatal shooting, which took place while the family was visiting a friend's apartment, and then woke her up. She previously said she never heard a gunshot and she did not know there was a gun in the apartment.
"I wake up several times and bust out crying. Can’t walk. Can’t breathe. Pacing, pacing, pacing. Just calling for Jayden," Crump-Piedra said Feb. 11. "I never thought it in the 2 ½ years, it would be my baby."
Crump-Piedra, 29, was booked into the Duval County jail just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday with a bond of $300,000, according to online jail records. She appeared in court Thursday morning and was ordered to wear an ankle monitor if she is released on bond.
Jarrod Jones, Jayden's stepfather, spoke in defense of the boy's mother.
"She would ... bend over backward, do what she got to do for that boy to be safe, happy," Jones said.
Griggs, 25, was booked into the Duval County jail Feb. 16, online jail records show. According to an arrest report, Griggs fled from the apartment after the shooting and went to Dallas. Police said they tracked Griggs down days later, and he admitted he left before police arrived and also removed some drugs before he left. Griggs' next court date is March 12.
The Department of Children and Families has opened a child death investigation into Jayden's shooting death.