A Des Moines teenager and her 37-year-old boyfriend have been charged with child endangerment in the death of the teen's toddler brother.
Court records show Denver Emery, 18, and her boyfriend, Nicholas Rivera, took 2-year-old Calvin Trullinger to the hospital in May. Doctors said the boy's injuries were consistent with "abusive brain trauma" that wasn't accidental, and they noted bruising on the boy's back that may have been caused by fingers. Calvin eventually died from his injuries.
Rivera was arrested just days before Emery and is due in court next week.
Emery and Rivera were caring for the boy in the weeks leading up to his May 24 death, police say. Emery kept in touch with the boy's mother by phone and text message over that period, according to the Des Moines Register. She was just 17 at the time.
Calvin’s father, Matthew Trullinger, told WOI-DT in Des Moines he visited his son shortly before he died.
“His eyelids were half open and I could see his eyes,” he said. “He was just so helpless. Doctors had machines attached to his skull.”
Calvin had fallen out of his crib just days before his death, Calvin's mother and Rivera told police, according to the Register. Home security video corroborated that story, the paper reported, but police don't think that caused the toddler’s death.
Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said investigators are unsure if “one or both suspects were responsible for the child’s death,” according to the Register.
Polk County Jail records say Emery remained in custody Tuesday. Court records don't list the name of an attorney who could comment for her. If convicted, Emery and Rivera could each face 50 years behind bars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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