Court documents detail events leading to boy’s death on Putnam Street
Stepmother charged with battery and neglect
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - The stepmother of Elijah Thomas Ross, the 9-year-old boy who died over the weekend, was charged Wednesday with aggravated battery resulting in death, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and two counts of neglect of a dependent. All four counts are felonies.
The following information is what Fort Wayne’s NBC News obtained from aTBE probable cause affidavit:
Alesha Lynn Miller, 30, and her spouse, Jenna Miller, were at a Christmas party when they received a phone call around 9 p.m., about a fight between Elijah and one of his brothers. The caller told the couple that the fight had ‘gotten out of hand’ when an older brother pushed Elijah into a bookcase.
Jenna Miller, Elijah’s mother, told police that when she checked on the boys around 10 p.m., she noticed that Elijah wasn’t breathing.
The couple drove Elijah to the Lutheran Downtown Hospital, the probable cause said.
When the security guard carried Elijah into the hospital, the boy was ”cold and limp and liver mortis and rigor mortis was starting to settle into his body,” probable cause documents said.
After attempting life-saving measures, the medical staff pronounced Elijah dead just after 2 a.m., Saturday. Medical staff had observed “multiple bruises” to the back of Elijah’s arms and face along with major bruising to Elijah’s lower back and buttocks and a “small cut/laceration at the base of the victim’s penis,” the probable cause said.
Witnesses told a Child Advocacy Center representative that Alesha Miller, would “slam” Elijah to the ground and that Miller “went hard on him.” Witnesses spoke of Alesha Miller “whooping”’ Elijah with a wooden paddle “multiple times.”
When police interviewed Jenna Miller a second time on Monday, Miller told police that when the couple returned home on Saturday, the boys were still fighting and “Alesha started whooping the victim with a wooden paddle that has writing on it and that the handle has been broken off,” the probable cause document said. Jenna Miller told police that Elijah “went limp and they thought he was playing dead.”
The autopsy of Elijah showed a subdermal hematoma, the probable cause said, with the preliminary ruling undetermined.
Police say they collected a white leather belt and a large wooden paddle with a handle broken off from the home.
A hearing for Alesha Miller is set for Dec. 29.
Alesha Miller is being held at the Allen County Jail on a 72-hour hold.
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