Four-month old Jeremiah Martin suffered head trauma and skull fractures at the time he died, according to the first degree murder charges filed against the baby’s mother and her boyfriend.
Leila Martin, 18, and her boyfriend Lavail Dunbar, 20, made their first appearance in front of a judge Thursday afternoon, September 19, 2013.
Police say the infant was pronounced dead early Wednesday at a local hospital, after his mother called 911 about an unresponsive child at Maple Ridge Apartments in Rock Island.
“I don’t think my daughter did it. I’ve seen her with my grandson, I’ve seen her take care of him, she loved him.” said Martin’s mother, Timanette Morrison, after Thursday’s hearing.
“I’m planning a funeral for my grandson and going to trial for my daughter, so I feel like I’ve lost a grandson and am losing my daughter,” she said.
Family members say Dunbar was not the baby’s father. They say he would babysit Jeremiah during the week while Martin went to school at Blackhawk College.
“If she knew this guy was abusing this child, she would not have allowed it at all,” said Maruisa Bonner, Martin’s aunt.
Dunbar’s sister says her brother was good with children and often babysat her four kids.
Sources and family members say there is also evidence the baby may have had injuries in the anal area.
“I know my brother wouldn’t do that. He loved that baby. He would lay in the middle of the street and get hit by a car for that baby,” said Precious Puckett, Dunbar’s sister.
Martin’s grandmother says her daughter is quiet and shy, and believes she is still in shock over what happened to Jeremiah.
“Something happened to him. It wasn’t right. I want justice served,” Morrison said.
The two are being held in the Rock Island County Jail on one million dollars bond.