1-Year-Old Is Killed, and Mother’s Boyfriend Is Arrested
Whatever was bothering 1-year-old Legacy Beauford the night before he died, all he could do was cry.
That frustrated his mother’s boyfriend, Keishawn Gordon, who was babysitting for him overnight on Wednesday.
When police questioned Mr. Gordon about Legacy’s injuries after the baby died on Thursday, he initially told investigators that he gently squeezed the boy’s stomach and tossed him in the air to pacify him in the family’s apartment in the Bronx’s Webster Houses, according to a criminal complaint filed in court after Mr. Gordon was arrested on Friday.
But he later admitted to punching him and sexually assaulting him, the police said. The medical examiner found bruises all over Legacy’s face and body, several broken ribs and a lacerated liver, which caused him to bleed to death internally, according to the criminal complaint.
“I was frustrated he wouldn’t stop crying,” Mr. Gordon said, according to the complaint. “He kept throwing up. I mushed him. He was irking me.”
Mr. Gordon, 23, was charged with murder and manslaughter in criminal court in the Bronx. His lawyer did not answer phone calls seeking comment on Sunday.
Since his arrest, questions have arisen about whether the police and child welfare authorities missed signs that the boy was being abused. The Administration for Children’s Services said it was investigating the boy’s death.
The case follows the death in August of a 7-year-old-girl, Julissia Batties, who was fatally beaten after being reunited with her birth mother. There have been no arrests in her case, but her family had frequent contact with child welfare authorities, courts and the police since before she was born.
The police acknowledged they responded to at least three 911 calls about a baby crying at Legacy’s home since May, including two that were reported as possible child abuse. Officers found nothing suspicious when they responded to the first call, on May 27, the police said.
The police responded on July 3 and Aug. 17 to the two subsequent reports of possible child abuse, but the responding officers reported that they had observed the children in the apartment to be in good health with no visible marks or injuries, the police said.
In addition to the three 911 calls, the authorities received at least one other report regarding the family.
A person briefed on the case, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential details, said that on July 14, city social workers and a special victims detective were assigned to investigate a report from the state’s child abuse hotline that Legacy’s older brother was being sexually abused. The police investigation was later closed, but no children were examined or interviewed, the person said.
It is unclear why the police closed the case, or how the city’s child welfare agency handled any of the calls. On Sunday, the Police Department did not respond to a question about the July 14 call, and the Administration for Children’s Services said it was forbidden by law from discussing the family’s history.
Mr. Gordon had a criminal record that included at least five arrests, including on charges of robbery in 2019 and assault in 2018, according to the police.
Legacy was one of two young boys who the police believe were killed in recent days by their mothers’ partners.
On Sunday, officers patrolling the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn were flagged down to help a 4-year-old boy who was unconscious. The officers tried to revive him as they waited for an ambulance, but they were unsuccessful, and the boy later died at the hospital, according to the police.
On their way to the mother’s apartment on the fourth floor, the officers encountered neighbors who said the boy’s 6-year-old brother had fled to their apartment. The boy had told them that his 27-year-old stepfather had attacked him and was beating his younger brother, according to the police.
While the officers were there, the police received a 911 call from a man threatening suicide. It turned out to be the children’s stepfather, who was found unharmed and taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, the police said.
It is unclear whether the family has a history with the police or child welfare authorities. The police did not provide the names of the woman or her sons.
Nikeya Birmingham, 32, who lives directly above the family, said the couple has been in the building for about a year. She said she had called the police at least four times over the past year because they were yelling at each other so loudly that it sometimes awakened her in the middle of the night.
That was the case around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, she said.
“I hear all this screaming through the vent,” she said. “I was yelling through the pipes, ‘Go to bed! Shut up!’”
Although the couple argued, she said she never heard the children or suspected they were being abused.
“He’s supposed to be walking to school tomorrow like all these other kids, with a new backpack and new shoes,” Ms. Birmingham said of the 4-year-old. “Now he’ll never breathe again.”
Another 4-year-old boy died on Saturday in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. However the police said investigators do not suspect foul play.
Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed reporting.