Update: Mankato teen arrested in toddler’s death
Blue Earth County Justice Center, 2020
A 16-year-old Mankato boy has been charged in a toddler’s murder.
Lee Wayne Young Jr was arrested Wednesday outside of his residence on North 5th St, according to a news release from Mankato Public Safety. Young has been charged with second-degree murder in Blue Earth County Juvenile Court, but prosecutors have filed a motion to have him tried as an adult.
According to a petition, the 2-year-old child was brutally beaten and raped on April 16. He was transported to a Mankato hospital where he was pronounced dead less than half an hour after officers were summoned to the scene.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner ruled the boy’s death a homicide, noting that the child had significant bruising to his face, head, chest, back, and legs. The boy had also been sexually assaulted, and one particular laceration was possibly caused by someone trying to cover the child’s mouth, according to court records. The medical examiner determined there were too many contusions to count the number of blows delivered. A pubic hair was also collected for evidence.
Police responding to a different matter on Eastport Dr the day of the child’s death were flagged down outside the home by the victim’s mother, who said her child couldn’t breathe. The child’s mother and Young’s father, who are in a relationship, told police the injuries were caused by the dogs.
Police say rigor mortis was setting in and the child appeared dead; his injuries appeared non-accidental and inconsistent with a dog attack.
A 12-year-old girl and Young were watching the child while the adults went to look at a car, according to the petition. The girl told investigators she had gone outside, leaving Young and the child alone for approximately 2 1/2 hours. The girl said she went to wake the child up because he had been down for what she believed was a long nap. She found the boy in bed with marks on his skin, bleeding and cold, and called her mother.
Young initially told police he had last seen the victim the previous night but changed his story after police said they had seen him while responding to the nearby service call.
A witness told police Young’s father had said he grabbed a webcam in the home “to protect the kids.”
Based on timelines provided in interviews, police believe Young was called by his father to check on the victim, then carried the child from his room to the couch, but never sought help from the officers who were nearby for the other call that day.
Police on scene for that call later described seeing the 12-year-old girl and Young on the porch having a “curt” conversation before the mother flagged down the squad car.