UPDATED: Suspect charged in death of two-year-old

Russell Lawerence Anderson-Rooks (courtesy Memphis Police)
Russell Lawerence Anderson-Rooks (courtesy Memphis Police)
Family members mourn Tuesday night as they learn of the two-year-old's death.
Family members mourn Tuesday night as they learn of the two-year-old's death.

UPDATED 4:00pm 06-14-07

Memphis police have charged Russell Lawerence Anderson-Rooks, 18, with murder in the death of a two-year-old child on Tuesday night.

Thursday, authorities said the two-year-old child died as a result of blunt force trauma, and that the death had been ruled a homicide.

Stay with WMCTV.com for updates on this story.

Reported 10pm 06-13-07

The family of a two-year-old child who died under mysterious circumstances Tuesday night are grieving their loss.

Meanwhile, Memphis police are questioning several peopleWednesday in connection with the child's death.

Relatives identify the 2-year-old child as Marquavion Leavy.

Police released a statement saying the boy's injuries were "inconsistent with normal activity of a 2-year-old child."

That's as far as police are willing to go right now as they wait for a report from the Shelby County Medical Examiner.

Family members say they already know the little boy they called Smokie was murdered.

"He was a good baby. He loved balls. He would come in the house and ask for a ball," said cousin, Felita Burnett.

Burnett was with Marquavion's mom when she got a phone call that would change her life.

"He said Candy, I don't know what's wrong with Smokie, but we was playing and he fell and hit his eyes on something and he just laying there. He won't say nothing," explained Burnett about the conversation the 2-year-old's mother had with the man who was babysitting her son.

A phone call the family says amounts to a confession.

Burnett added, "and then he told her he got a few marks and bruises on him but ain't nobody been beating on him or nothing like that. We was just playing and maybe I got a little rough with him. That's what he told her."

The family rushed to the Whitney Manor apartments and got another call from the babysitter.

"He said, 'Candy he still won't say nothing, if he don't hurry and get up I'm gonna call the ambulance'. So Candy said, 'that's what you should've been did'."

By the time they arrived, so had ambulance and police. And Marquavion was dead.

"That baby was killed. He didn't run into nothing, fall and die, that baby was killed," added Burnett.

Burnett says she wants the person responsible for her cousin's death to pay.

No one has been charged at this point, but police are holding three people for questioning; the babysitter who was watching Marquavion, that man's girlfriend and police also talking to the little boy's mother.

UPDATED 06-13-07

Homicide detectives are continuing their investigation today into the Tuesday evening death of a Memphis 2-year-old.  Wednesday, investigators said the child had injuries that were inconsistent with the normal activity of a 2-year-old child.  Investigators said no charges have been filed yet in the child's death.

The name of the victim in the case has not yet been released.  According to officials, the medical examiner's report on the child's death is still pending, and investigators are continuing to interview witnesses in the case.

Stay with WMCTV.com for updates on this story.

REPORTED 06-12-07

Memphis Police are investigating after a two-year-old child died Tuesday night at the Whitney Manor Apartments, located in the 3000 block of St. Charles.

Officials tell Action News 5 that firefighters were initially dispatched to the scene after a caller said the child was in cardiac arrest.

Homicide detectives were called to the scene a short time later to investigate the child's death.

"It would be a homicide investigation due to the fact that the death is unknown at this time so we're treating it like that from the start," said Inspector C.L. Williams of the Memphis Police Department.

Authorities would not say exactly what led to police being called, except that paramedics were concerned about how the boy may have died.

Family members said the boy did not live at the apartment, and that a man was babysitting him.  That man, who has not been identified, was taken to 201 Poplar along with another person for questioning.

The apartment complex flooded with relatives as word spread of the boy's death.  The name of the boy has not been released, but family members said he was known by his nickname, "Smokey."

Stay with WMCTV.com for updates on this developing story.

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