Updated by Amie Steffen, Internet Director - email
Updated by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
A Dubuque man faces charges of child neglect after a two-year-old child in his care died Sunday.
Nicholas H. Reed, 34, of Dubuque, was arrested Friday and charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, manufacturing methamphetamine and manufacturing marijuana, all felonies.
Bentley J. Randall, 2, was pronounced dead Sunday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after succumbing to head trauma and burn injuries.
Dubuque Police say the investigation remains open and more charges are possible.
Officers responded to the Finley Hospital in Dubuque on Friday night for a report of a two-year-old with submersion burns and head trauma.
Bentley's mother, Kylee Vandermuelen, 20, of Dubuque, reportedly left Bentley with Reed, her boyfriend, on Friday. According to court documents, she was reportedly going to work.
Court documents show Reed told investigators he was giving Bentley a bath, which scalded the boy.
When Vandermuelen returned to Reed's home that evening and learned of her son's condition, she transported Bentley to the hospital, according to the police report.
Police found methamphetamine and marijuana at Reed's residence and executed a second search warrant related to the narcotics. As a result, Reed received the additional charges.
Dubuque police lieutenant Scott Baxter said he expects to see some heightened emotions from the community at the death of a two-year-old.
"Outrage would be something I would expect," Baxter said. "Sorrow. You know, and, obviously, hopefully support for the loved ones and family of the child, you know. But I would hope this would really rattle people's cages, you know, when it comes to, 'This is a two-year-old child, defenseless, essentially, who obviously didn't deserve what happened,' and it should concern them."
He said it's not easy for law enforcement officials either.
"It's upsetting, obviously, to the responding officers and the investigators who have to go dive into the investigation pretty deep," Baxter said. "A lot of those people, those officers are parents, have kids, too, at home, and that can get your attention, too, and really have it hit home."
According to court documents, two other children were home at the time of the alleged incident: Reed's 11-year-old and three-year-old biological daughters.
Officials say Reed was not Bentley's biological father.
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