Recognizing signs of physical child abuse
A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of beating to death his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son because the boy had soiled his pants.
Terrence D. Farris was arrested Wednesday morning by fugitive officers at an apartment complex in east Fort Worth on a warrant accusing him of capital murder of a child under 10.
Fort Worth police had been called to the Carlyle Crossing apartments in the 6300 block of Vega Drive on April 27, on a report of a 2-year-old boy having trouble breathing.
When officers arrived, MedStar and Fort Worth firefighters were performing CPR on the child, Kaison Jackson-Tuzolana.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Farris told police that he had been in the living room when he heard Kaison fall down. He said he found the boy in the kitchen, crying and pointing to his head.
He told officers “he thought Kaison had fallen and hit his head on one of the toys” and that is when he called for an ambulance, the affidavit states.
Farris had been watching Kaison and the boy’s two sisters while their mother worked.
But firefighters told police that Kaison was unresponsive and cold to the touch when they arrived.
The boy was taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
Doctors noted both new and old injuries on the boy’s body and indicated his death “appeared highly suggestive of being non-accidental,” states the affidavit, written by crimes against children Detective B. Jones.
In a forensic interview, Kaison’s 3-year-old sister stated that Kaison fell on his toys earlier in the day and was crying. She said her brother fell on his own and that Farris — whom she called Mr. T — told her to say that, the affidavit states.
The girl then said that Kaison was running in the kitchen when he fell and tripped.
The girl “then said Kaison had defecated on the floor in the living room, and then she could hear Kaison whining and crying in the shower,” Jones wrote. “She stated Mr. T got a brown belt and went into the bathroom with Kaison. (She) said she did not see what happened.”
The girl said when her brother later emerged from the shower, he had “bumps” on him, the affidavit states
The boy’s mother told police Kaison had been fine when she left for work at about 10:50 a.m. that morning.
She said Farris called her at about 1:30 p.m., telling her she needed to come home because Kaison had fallen and was not speaking.
Farris agreed to talk with investigators. He said he believed the child had fallen onto a broken toy, cutting his neck and hurting his head.
When pressed about what Kaison’s sister had said, Farris acknowledged he’d given Kaison a “pop” on the boy’s behind after the child had defecated in his pants, some of it dripping on the floor.
He said he’d cleaned the child up with water and wipes in the shower and denied getting a belt.
Farris said his girlfriend had mentioned when leaving for work that Kaison had earlier wet his pants. She had told Farris not to hit the boy but to put him in the corner.
When the detective questioned why Farris had given Kaison a “pop” anyway, Farris told the detective: “These are her three kids. I don’t got no kids That’s why I was ... I put myself in a bad situation.”
The affidavit states he gave varying versions of the events that day.
An autopsy determined Kaison suffered numerous internal abdominal injuries, and marks and scratches to his face and neck, as well as trauma to the back of his neck.
Investigators later tried to interview Farris about the extent of Kaison’s injuries. Farris again denied hurting the boy, and scheduled an interview to talk with detectives, but never showed up, the affidavit states.
After Kaison’s death was ruled a homicide on July 8, detectives obtained a warrant for Farris’s arrest.
“This was a tragic and senseless death,” said Sgt. Rachel DeHoyos, supervisor of the crimes against children unit. Our “detectives work to give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves and ensure justice for child victims like Kaison.”