The son of a Warsaw man was allegedly beaten to death last week by the boy’s mother’s boyfriend in Fort Wayne.
The Times Union reports 2-year-old Malakai Michael Garrett was rushed to the Fort Wayne Fire Department Station No. 13 off North Clinton Street on Nov. 29. He later died at the hospital, and the Allen County Coroner’s Office ruled the boy’s death a homicide. NBC said the child had been beaten to death.
27-year-old Mitchell Vanryn the boyfriend of Malakai’s mother, Amber Garrett, was taken into custody Nov. 30 and charged with aggravated battery on a person younger than 18 and domestic battery death to a person under 14, according to The Journal Gazette.
Vanryn is being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail, the Journal Gazette reported Saturday.
Malakai’s father, Lantz Garrett, is from Warsaw and told WNDU channel 16 that he was heartbroken by what happened. He said he attempted several times to try and get custody of Malakai. He told The Journal Gazette on Friday that he had joint custody of his son with Amber, but hadn’t seen his son since June 24 after a no-contact order was served following a confrontation over the boy’s treatment. Lantz had been trying to work through the court system to see his son again and had engaged with Child Protective Services.
Vanryn was staying home with the child while Amber went to work, according to the probable cause affidavit. Vanryn told police he put Malakai down for a nap and four hours later the boy did not wake up.
Vanryn told police that’s when he slapped the boy in the face to wake him up. Since that didn’t work, Vanryn told officers he took the 2-year-old to the bathtub and tried putting cold water on him to wake him up. Vanryn eventually took the boy to a fire station.
Amber told police that Malakai had bruises on his face from falling, and he had not been feeling well.
NBC reports an autopsy showed Malakai had extensive and severe bruising in numerous locations, including the chest, abdomen, back, face and head. He also had severe injuries to his internal organs.
The investigating doctor who conducted the autopsy said there were injuries consistent with multiple blows and strikes from a closed-fist punch.
Vanryn’s next hearing in the current case is Wednesday.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to pay for Malakai’s funeral costs under “JusticeForMalakai.” As of this morning, $5,235 has been raised toward the $10,000 goal.