Father arrested in killing of young boy in Frayser, police say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis police have arrested a man in the death of a young boy yesterday in Frayser.

RELATED: Child dead, parent detained for questioning in Frayser, police say

Police received a call about a child who was not breathing.

The child was taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital early yesterday morning and died.

According to an affidavit, the child had skull fractures on both sides of his skull, ligature marks around his neck and his stomach was filled with blood.

The boy had bruising over his entire body.

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.

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

The boy was previously taken to LeBonheur in 2019 for a bruised forehead and hematoma underneath his scalp after spending the night with First, according to the affidavit.

FOX13 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 of 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 his child had stayed with him overnight. They say he told them 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 FOX13 it’s possible the child’s biological mother was in the hospital.

Pastor Ricky Floyd said he's been talking to groups about the need for overnight childcare 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: psychosocial care, child care, anxiety, stress,” Frayser pastor Ricky Floyd told FOX13.