NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. - Police believe a 7-year-old boy died at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend.
The boy’s father said he received a call Sept. 18 informing him his son had been rushed to the hospital after a fall on the playground. He said he’s still trying to figure out what happened.
“Sometimes I think it's just a bad dream,” Jesus Martinez told Channel 2’s Eric Philips.
His son, Ethan, died from head injuries. Martinez said when he reached the hospital, he saw David Mann Jr. being arrested. Mann, Ethan’s mother’s live-in boyfriend, is facing murder charges.
Martinez said he’s heard different versions of events leading up to the death. He said he’s been told Ethan was shaken at his Covington home and accidently fell, but Martinez suggested there was something else going on.
“I know it's not just shaking him, something more,” Martinez said.
Martinez had not seen his son in more than a year. He said that was the result of a tense divorce from Ethan's mother. The undocumented immigrant said she threatened to call police if he came to their home.
“I just cried every night. I (was) just feeling something wrong is going to happen,” Martinez said.
He hopes others take heed.
“People need to know what's going on with their kids,” Martinez said.
Mann is charged with murder, aggravated battery and cruelty to children. He's being held in the Newton County Jail without bond.
A memorial service for Ethan is set for Thursday at Livingston Elementary School, where he was enrolled.