Man charged in Warrensville Heights toddler's death

Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 17:12:40-04

A man has been charged in connection to the death of the toddler who was killed over the weekend in Warrensville Heights.

Tariq Debardeleben, 19, was charged Tuesday with one count of murder, according to authorities.

Morgan Dillard, a 15-month-old toddler, was found unresponsive at a Warrensville Heights home Saturday morning.

The baby girl's mother, La'Shea Mitchell, told News 5 she left her daughter with a relative while she went to work, before receiving a call from a doctor that Morgan was on life support.

Police and Emergency Medical Services were called to the Clarkwood Greens Apartments on Walford Road for a report of an unresponsive child on Saturday. Morgan later died at  University Hospitals' Ahuja Medical Center.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the baby's death a homicide.

According to the medical examiner, the infant suffered blunt impacts to the head and abdomen. Mitchell believes relatives could be responsible, but said she was asked by police not say anything further.

“My baby needs justice and she didn’t deserve that. She’s only one," Mitchell said.

The Warrensville Heights Police Department is currently investigating the incident the consulting with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

The family is seeking assistance with funeral expenses and have set up an online fundraiser on GoFundMe. Donations are also being accepted at the Gaines Funeral Home.

Debaardeleben is scheduled to appear in court on August 31.