CPS: Murdered baby grabbed by leg, hit against table, dresser

Grand Rapids

An undated courtesy photo of Josiah Guyton.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A court document details the heartbreaking final moments of Josiah Guyton, an 8-month-old boy whose March 4 death in Grand Rapids was ruled a homicide.

Jermaine Abron, the boyfriend of Josiah’s mom, is in the Kent County jail facing charges of open murder and first-degree child abuse.

Jermaine Abron is arraigned on charges of murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of 8-month-old Josiah Guyton. (March 9, 2020)

“(Abron) gave a full confession and admitted to grabbing Josiah out of his crib by his leg and forcibly hitting Josiah against objects in the room such as a table and dresser,” a Children’s Protective Services worker wrote in a document filed in the Family Division of Kent County Circuit Court.

CPS submitted the petition Wednesday, March 11, to formalize the removal of Josiah’s 2-year-old brother Jaden from the care of the boys’ mother Jada Guyton and Abron, both 25. Josiah and Jaden lived with their mom and Abron, who was the legal father of Jaden but not Josiah.

Jada Guyton is also currently three months pregnant with a child by Abron.

The young mom cried throughout a family court hearing Wednesday morning .

Deputies transported a handcuffed Abron from jail to the courthouse in downtown Grand Rapids to attend the hearing.   

In addition to authorizing Jaden’s placement in foster care, the petition seeks to terminate Guyton and Abron’s parental rights to the toddler.

Though Abron allegedly confessed to police after Josiah’s death, the court document shows he initially told Guyton he had “dropped” the baby.

According to the petition, Jada Guyton went to the store around 7 p.m. on March 4, leaving Abron alone with Josiah at the couple’s apartment at Grandview Place, 936 Front Ave. NW, in Grand Rapids.

Jaden had been picked up by his maternal great-grandmother a couple hours earlier.

REPORT: MOM, BOYFRIEND SMOKED POT AS BABY LAY ‘GASPING’

“When Ms. Guyton arrived home from the store at approximately 8:00 p.m., she noted that Mr. Abron was coming out of the bedroom where Josiah was sleeping,” a CPS caseworker wrote in the petition to terminate parental rights.

Guyton told police she found Josiah lying on his stomach making a “gasping noise” as if he’d been crying.

“Ms. Guyton inquired about the noise Josiah was making,” the petition reads. “Mr. Abron admitted to Ms. Guyton that he had dropped Josiah and Josiah had been crying. Ms. Guyton did not remove Josiah from the crib to check on him or assess why he was making gasping noises. Ms. Guyton left Josiah lying face down gasping and went into another room of the home to smoke marijuana with Mr. Abron.”   

The CPS caseworker noted that Abron and Guyton admitted to smoking pot when they were the “sole caretakers” of 8-month-old Josiah.

“There was no sober caretaker present in the home to care for Josiah,” the worker wrote.

“After smoking marijuana with Ms. Guyton, Mr. Abron left the home ‘abruptly’. Ms. Guyton went to check on Josiah, and he was face-down in his crib unreponsive and not breathing around 8:30pm. It was discovered at this time  by Ms. Guyton that Josiah had bruising to his forehead and an abrasion to his nose,” the caseworker continued.

That’s when Guyton called 911.

Josiah was transported to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, but his heart stopped and he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m.

GRPD: MULTIPLE TEXTS REFER TO ‘BEATING (JADEN’S) ASS’ 

The petition, which did not specify the exact cause of Josiah’s death, did reveal the autopsy found the 8-month-old had “healing rib fractures” that were approximately four weeks old.

“Ms. Guyton admitted to police that she does not usually leave Josiah alone with Mr. Abron because Mr. Abron is ‘mean’,” the caseworker wrote in the petition.

According to the court document, police also discovered text messages dated from November 2019 through January 2020 in which Guyton and Abron made “multiple references” to “beating (Jaden’s) ass.”

Detectives also reported Abron confessed that he and Guyton had “frequently disciplined” 2-year-old Jaden with a belt.

CPS became involved with Jada Guyton in December 2017 when Jaden tested positive for THC at birth.

As is procedure when a baby shows signs of maternal marijuana use at birth, the state substantiated Guyton for physical abuse to Jaden.

CPS also cited Guyton in 2019 for improper supervision following an incident of domestic violence between Guyton and another man — Josiah’s father.

MOM HAD OPEN CPS CASE AT TIME OF BABY’S DEATH

The state, having opened a case on Guyton after the 2019 substantiation, noted concerns that the young mother was not following safe sleep protocol for Josiah, despite being educated on the practice on multiple occasions.

In addition, medical staff at Cherry Health had “ongoing concerns” over Josiah’s “failure to thrive,” after which he was hospitalized and gained weight without difficulty.

“Further concerns were noted that Jaden has had multiple missed appointments for specialists in regard to a severe peanut allergy, retractile testes, and a single maxillary incisor,” the CPS employee wrote in the petition.

“Cherry Health further noted that failure to address those concerns could result in future deformity or infertility. It is also noted that Ms. Guyton took several months to obtain an EpiPen for Jaden after learning that he has a severe peanut allergy and the EpiPen was necessary in case of a future episode,” a CPS worker wrote.

According to the petition, the state provided multiple educational services to Jaden and Josiah’s parents. Those services included at least four programs: Early On, Maternal Infant Health, Strong Beginnings and Family Life Skills.

The document reports that CPS conducted four investigations related to the children’s welfare, one in 2018 and three in 2019.

Neither Guyton nor Abron has a significant criminal history. In 2015, Guyton was convicted of misdemeanor malicious destruction of property.

She has not been charged in connection with her baby’s homicide.

Abron has no criminal convictions on his record, according to the criminal database maintained by Michigan State Police.

Abron, who was denied  bond, remains in the Kent County jail.

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