Court documents provide new insight into toddler's death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Court documents provide new insight into toddler's death

(Source: Family) (Source: Family)
(Source: SCSO) (Source: SCSO)

Court documents revealed disturbing new details about the murder of a Memphis 3-year-old.

The toddler was killed over the weekend while in his father's custody. His father, Terry Patterson, has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse.

The documents show Patterson beat his son the night of September 4. He is accused of hitting Josiah several times on his head with his fist and used his belt to strike the boy's stomach area.

Patterson told police he was mad at the boy for spitting out his food on the couch.

A police affidavit said Patterson left the toddler on the couch alone as he went to go and pick up his girlfriend who police said told Patterson to take the boy to the hospital, but he refused. The next morning, Patterson found his son on the couch unresponsive.

Juvenile court documents reveal that Josiah's mother had custody of the boy for the majority of his life and his father was paying child support and allowed to see him during set visitation times.

Records show Patterson filed a petition to get custody of his son in May, claiming his son would be living in better conditions. He claimed the mother used illegal drugs and was smoking marijuana around the child.

On August 24, the boy's father was given joint custody of Josiah. The first week Josiah was with his father, he died.

Patterson is a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty to statutory rape twice, once in 1996 and again in 2001.

Nobody from the Department of Children Services nor any court official has explained why Patterson was granted custody of his son in spite of his criminal past.

Meanwhile, DCS confirmed it had prior contact with the family of Josiah over the past three years, but wouldn't comment any further.

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