Tennessee father arrested in killing of young boy, police say

Police: Father arrested in killing of young boy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police in Memphis, Tennessee, have arrested a man in connection with the death of a young boy Wednesday in Frayser.

According to WHBQ-TV, police received a call early Wednesday about a child who was not breathing. The child was taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and died.

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According to an affidavit, the child had fractures on both sides of his skull and ligature marks around his neck, and his stomach was filled with blood. The boy also had bruising over his entire body, the affidavit said.

Antonio First, 35, the boy’s biological father, was arrested and charged with murder in the first degree in preparation of aggravated child abuse and child neglect, according to police.

First told officers the boy was not supposed to be in his custody, according to the affidavit. The father also told investigators he slapped his toddler which made his head hit the wall, the affidavit said.

First gave investigators a typed statement in which he admitted to causing the injuries that killed the boy, WHBQ reported.

WHBQ examined court documents and found out that child abuse investigators were called to the hospital last year when the same child suffered injuries.

In April 2019, Memphis police were called to a home on Sutton Drive after the child was taken to LeBonheur in critical condition. Investigators said he suffered a bruised forehead and hematoma underneath the scalp. First told police that his child had stayed with him overnight. According to police, First said that when he noticed the child having difficulty breathing that morning, he called 911 and performed CPR.

So why did First have the child if he was told the child could not be in his custody? Sources told WHBQ it’s possible that the child’s biological mother was in the hospital.

Pastor Ricky Floyd said he's been talking to groups about the need for overnight child care for single moms so their kids will be in a safe situation when needed.

“I hope that this will cause us to focus on some of the needs that we have in our community: psycho-social care, child care, anxiety, stress,” Floyd told the news station.

Antonio First, 35, the boy’s biological father, was arrested and charged in the case.
Antonio First, 35, the boy’s biological father, was arrested and charged in the case. (Memphis Police Department)