A Tacoma man charged with killing his girlfriend’s 15-month-old son said the fatal injuries happened when he performed the Heimlich maneuver after the toddler swallowed a rock.
Investigators and doctors didn’t believe him, pointing out that the child had other injuries and scars indicating long-term abuse.
On Wednesday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Dedric Greer, 31, with second-degree murder in the death of Sayvon Jordan Jr. Greer was arraigned Wednesday and bail was set at $2 million.
According to charging papers, Greer and the toddler’s mother brought the boy to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital on Saturday morning, and doctors said the boy had been dead “for a while.”
The mother is also three months pregnant by Greer, who shared a prison cell with Sayvon’s father, records show. Sayvon’s father remains locked up.
Greer, Sayvon and the boy’s mother moved to Tacoma last week, taking a bus from Arkansas after leaving the woman’s three other children with their grandmother. They were staying temporarily with a friend and her children.
The children told detectives they’d seen Greer dangle the toddler by his neck, throw him onto the bed and push his fists into Sayvon’s stomach while calling him “stupid baby,” records show.
The night before Sayvon was taken to the hospital, he was left in Greer’s care. Greer told the boy’s mother later that Sayvon threw up but otherwise appeared fine.
He told police Sayvon swallowed a small rock, and he performed the Heimlich maneuver on the boy eight or nine times and “might have done it too hard,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers.
An autopsy showed the boy died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen. It also found other injuries inflicted around the time of death and various scars, leading medical examiners to believe the boy had been abused for weeks.
The friend who opened her home to Greer and the toddler’s mother told investigators she never saw Greer hit Sayvon but witnessed him smack the child’s hand and take off his belt and tap it on the floor near the boy.
She said Sayvon “reacted as though he had been hit before,” and said Greer often beat the boy’s mother.
Greer was arrested after the boy’s death on a warrant out of Arkansas for violating his probation on a second-degree sexual assault charge.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653