Prosecutor releases statement on death of 2-year-old boy

Antrone Smith (Source: Cincinnati Police Department)
Antrone Smith (Source: Cincinnati Police Department)
Antrone Smith in court Monday morning
Antrone Smith in court Monday morning
Demarcus Jackson
Demarcus Jackson

WESTWOOD, OH (FOX19) - A Westwood father wept as he pleaded not guilty to murder Monday morning after he was charged with the death of his two-year-old son.

Police arrested Antrone Smith, 29, Sunday.

Rescuers arrived to a home on Bracken Woods Lane on Friday for a report of a child not breathing. Demarcus Jackson was pronounced dead when he arrived at Children's Hospital.

Investigators determined that Demarcus died from blunt force trauma to his abdomen.

The judge gave Smith a $500,000 bond and the case will go to the grand jury on November 2nd.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters released a statement on the investigation on Tuesday.

"Over the next week, my office will review the facts surrounding the death of DeMarcus Jackson. A determination of charges will be made within 9 days for presentation to the Hamilton County Grand Jury," he said.

During the arraignment, Smith pleaded guilty on two driving without license charges, which are unrelated to the murder case.

Smith's relatives spoke with FOX19 and said Demarcus had a seizure disorder and that Smith was a good father. They say he did not harm his son.

FOX19 also heard from the foster family who had raised the child they knew as Marcus, for the last 2 years.  They say Marcus was a happy, loving little boy who had grown very attached to his foster mother, Latasha Tye.   Latasha and her husband Joe had been caring for Marcus since he was a newborn, and also took care of Marcus' three brothers.

In August, when it was determined that Marcus' biological parents had earned back custody of their children, the Tyes followed procedure and turned the children over.  But, Shona Harris, Latasha's aunt, says Marcus had a very hard time adjusting to being away from Latasha because she was the only mother the boy had ever known.

Then on Friday night, Antrone Smith called 911 and reported that his son was not breathing.

Now, the Tyes and Shona Harris say they are mourning the loss of the sweet little boy they had come to know and love, "He wasn't just a foster kid, he was our baby.  He just didn't deserve what happened – not at all."

Deters said he has also spoken with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

"Both of us were very disturbed by the initial reports on the case and, specifically, the placement of the child back in a potentially abusive environment," said Deters. "I pledged to the Ohio Attorney General that my office will thoroughly and completely investigate the circumstances surrounding the placement of this child and the baby's ultimate death."

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