Tahlequah police investigate 3-year-old's death


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Updated: 11/20/2013 1:54 pm Published: 11/20/2013 5:05 am


A 3-year-old boy is dead and police say his mother may have played a role in his death.

Officers said they found the child dead in Tahlequah at the Stepping Stone Rooming House on East Chickasaw street.

His mother, Jeri Sanders, and the man she lives with, Buford Ellison, are behind bars.

Police told FOX23 that emergency responders were called to the Stepping Stone Rooming House around 11:45 am after they were tipped off there was possibly someone dead there.

Detectives said it was obvious the child had been dead for some time. They said he was bruised and his lips were blue.

They said Sanders admitted to detectives that Dakota had been crying uncontrollably for weeks and she had enough and couldn't stand it anymore.

They said she told them, she handed the baby over to Ellison and left the room. She said when she came back 15 minutes later, Dakota was not crying anymore and the boy was in a face first position on a chair.

Police said after about 2 hours, she told detectives she brought the baby over to someone else for them to babysit.

They said that person called police when they realized the toddler was not breathing.

Detectives also said Sanders had not taken Dakota to the doctor to see why he had been crying so much.

Neighbors said they'd helped babysit the baby before and were in shock over what happened.

The chief of police says he thinks the boy was either strangled or suffocated, and he believes the couple is behind it.

They are being held on first-degree murder charges. Sanders appeared in court on Wednesday morning, Ellison was incapacitated and did not appear. They are scheduled to be in court on Dec. 17.

FOX23 has confirmed Sanders used to work at the Toy Chest Learning Center. A woman who worked there told FOX23 she had not had any problems while working there.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

t town253 - 11/20/2013 1:29 PM
1 Vote
I am so sad. He looks like such a sweetheart.

pammio53 - 11/20/2013 12:54 PM
1 Vote
SMH... you dont do anything to a child for crying except take them to the hospital if you dont know what to do
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