What to Know
- A 7-year-old boy was found dead in his Newark home Monday morning and mom's boyfriend is charged with child endangerment
- A source and officials said the boyfriend was caring for the child when his mother went to work; there were indications he had been beaten
- No cause of death has been disclosed for the boy, Aydin Brown; the investigation is ongoing
A New Jersey man has been charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend's 7-year-old son, who was found alone on a floor and apparently beaten, according to authorities and a source familiar with the investigation.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that the boyfriend, Mark Harper, had been taken into custody and was initially charged with child endangerment.
After the medical examiner determined the death of 7-year-old Aydin Brown was a homicide caused by blunt force injury, charges against Harper were upgraded to murder.
Officials and a law enforcement source have said Harper, 36, was caring for the boy when Brown's mother went to work Sunday night.
The boyfriend allegedly called the mother at work Monday morning to tell her there was something wrong with her child and she told him to call 911, the source says, adding that when EMT arrived at the scene, they found the boy on the floor and their initial impression was the child was "beaten to death." The boyfriend was not at the home at the time.
Family members and neighbors were quick to demand justice for the boy.
"That baby didn’t deserve that. That baby can’t fight for his self. He can’t protect [him]self. I can’t imagine the fear, the fear in that poor baby. He probably just was so scared and just wanted his mom," Niyesha Webb, a neighbor, said.