Update: Police announced this afternoon that Zachary Barber, 28, has been charged with involuntarily manslaughter -- after he allegedly struck his two-year-old son, who died a short while later. Our original coverage is below.
Police say that an autopsy revealed Isiah Barber was struck in the chest. And a probable cause statement from the St. Louis circuit attorney, on view below, says that the father admitted to police that he had hit his son.
The father remains in custody and a judge set a $100,000 cash only bond.
The little boy is the 33rd homicide victim of 2013 -- and by far the youngest.
The probable cause statement says that the boy would have turned three in August. His father, the statement says, struck the boy in the chest "one time with the back of his hand."
The boy's older brother, age four, was watching, officials say.
Shortly after he was hit, police believe the two-year-old became unresponsive. The boy's uncle performed CPR and called 911, but it appears it was too late. The medical examiner, officials say, determined that he died from "arrhythmia due to the strike to the chest."
Here's the full probable cause statement followed by our original coverage:
Original post, 1:37 p.m.: Yesterday evening, two-year-old Isiah Barber was taken to the hospital after a family member reported he was "unresponsive and having trouble breathing," police say.
A short time later, he was dead.
Police say that there is someone in custody and that the incident was a "suspicious sudden death," but it's unclear at this time if the young boy's death was the result of child abuse -- though some news reports are speculating that his father may be responsible.
An autopsy will happen today, police say.
A police spokeswoman tells Daily RFT this afternoon that she cannot yet confirm who is custody and says that no charges have been issued. The cause of death, she adds, is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, the Post-Dispatch and KSDK (Channel 5) say that it is the father who is in custody. The paper says that he is under suspicion of endangering the welfare of a child because of "deplorable" conditions in the home. And KSDK reports the father told police that he had struck the child and that investigators did find bruises on the boy before he was taken to the hospital. Both reports say the child may have been stuck in the chest.
A spokeswoman could not confirm any of these details to us as of this writing.
The official report says that the police call happened at around 5:50 p.m. yesterday and that it was the victim's uncle who advised police that the boy was unresponsive.
The report also says that the department's child abuse and homicide division is investigating and that the cause of death at this time is unknown. An autopsy today will likely be key in the ongoing investigation.
Here is KSDK's segment followed by the full SLMPD incident report.
Incident: Suspicious Sudden Death
Location: 7000 block of Weil
Date/Time: 05/09/13 @ 5:50
Victim: Isiah Barber, 2-year old black male of the 7000 block of Weil
Officers received an assignment for a "suspicious death" and upon arrival, located the victim's uncle, who advised that the victim was unresponsive and having trouble breathing. The victim was conveyed to a local hospital and pronounced deceased a short time after. Child Abuse and Homicide resumed the investigation. The cause of death is not yet determined, however an autopsy is scheduled for today. The investigation is ongoing.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.