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Mom’s boyfriend beats her 2-year-old son to death with ‘braided dog toy’ while she’s sleeping, claims toddler fell off bed: Police

Anthony D. Andrews (Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

Anthony D. Andrews (Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)

A 22-year-old man in Tennessee was arrested this week for allegedly killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, beating the child to death with a dog toy.

Anthony D. Andrews was taken into custody early Monday morning and charged with one count of aggravated child abuse and one count of aggravated neglect of a child in the toddler’s brutal death, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Shelby County Criminal Court, officers with the Memphis Police Department and emergency medical personnel with the Memphis Fire Department just before 6 a.m. on Monday responded to a 911 call reporting an unresponsive 2-year-old boy at a residence located in the 2600 block of Margot Street.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders reportedly located the boy, who was “not breathing and bleeding from the mouth, with bruising on the abdomen, sides, and back, as well as a long bruise on the right side of his face that went from the forehead area to the lower jaw,” police wrote.

EMTs on the scene performed CPR on the victim before rushing him to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead.

Police then identified the victim’s mother and her boyfriend, Andrews, at the Margot Street home. The mother told investigators that she had last seen her child in good health at about 11:15 p.m. the previous evening. She said that she had left her son in the care of Andrews that evening while she was asleep.

“[The victim’s mother] stated that she was aware that Mr. Andrews disciplines her child and has seen him use a belt or braided dog toy to strike the child when disciplining him,” police wrote in the affidavit. “[The victim’s mother] also stated that she recently noticed excess bruising and wounds on her child but was told by Mr. Andrews that the child had fallen out of bed.”

After advising him of his Miranda rights, investigators interviewed Andrews, who agreed to provide police with a statement.

“During the statement, Anthony Andrews admitted to hitting the child with a belt ‘harder than he should’ a few weeks before this incident, as well as striking the child 7 to 8 times with a braided dog toy in the back, face, and buttocks area on the morning of Sept. 4, 2023,” the affidavit states. “Andrews also admitted to striking the child with an open hand in the chest at least once or twice before shoving the child into a corner.”

After beating the toddler, Andrews allegedly told police that he put the boy back in bed. However, Andrews said that several minutes later he saw the boy fall out of the bed, which is when he noticed that the child was unresponsive and called 911.

Andrews is currently being held at the Shelby County Detention Center on $250,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court before Judge William B. Anderson on Sept. 7, records show.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.