Florida preschooler suffered ‘battered child syndrome’ before murder, investigators say

Florida

WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. (WESH) — On Friday, the West Melbourne man accused of abusing and murdering a 3-year-old boy faced a Florida judge for the first time.

Joshua Manns did not say a word as the judge said he is to remain behind bars without bond. The 25-year-old is accused of killing Jameson Nance last month.

According to newly released arrest affidavits, Manns was taking care of the preschooler in their West Melbourne home while his mom was at work on June 11.

As the boy’s mom was getting ready to come home, court documents say Manns called her saying Jameson likely drowned. She came rushing home and found her son dead in the bathroom and that Manns had taken off without calling anyone for help.

Investigators said Manns left a handwritten note in the apartment saying he had a seizure while the boy was in the bathtub and drowned adding: “no one would believe him and (he) does not want to spend the rest of his life in prison for something he did not do.”

But a medical examiner did not find any evidence of drowning. Instead, an autopsy revealed clear signs of battered child syndrome with injuries from weeks ago including a fractured rib, brain swelling and stabs to his head.

Detectives also learned the boy suffered a broken leg last March and that the Department of Children and Family Services investigated another broken leg two years ago. Just last month, DCF went to Jameson’s daycare to investigate “suspicious” injuries including a burn on his arm.

Law enforcement found and arrested Manns in Georgia over two weeks after the boy’s death. Investigators said he was trying to escape with help from relatives to get back to his home state of West Virginia.

Our NBC affiliate, WESH 2, reached out to DCF about their ongoing investigations involving the boy but has not yet heard back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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