A teenager was arrested on Friday and charged with the murder of a small child who authorities believe was pushed to death.
Kyrell Morgan, 19, of Allegheny Township, Pennsylvania, was remanded in custody and charged with criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of a child, Allegheny County Police Department reported. His arrest came a day after Stowe County police officers responding to a call about an unresponsive toddler found 2-year-old Brielle Swinton not breathing.
EMS responders tried to revive Swinton before she was taken to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital for treatment. Despite the efforts of hospital staff, she was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival.
An official cause of death for Swinton has not been released by authorities. The Allegheny County Police Department, however, announced that the county doctor had condemned the death as a homicide. According to criminal complaint filed against Morgan, authorities believe he squeezed Swinton excessively, causing tears in her liver and resulting in her death.
The autopsy cited by the complaint also noted that Swinton appeared to have been squeezed from behind. The toddler would most likely have died slowly after the injury was inflicted. As such, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner estimated that she was injured 12 to 16 hours before her death, according to the Tribune-Review.
“On December 31, 2021 at approximately 5:30 p.m., Morgan was remanded in custody without incident,” the department explained in a Twitter thread. “Morgan is currently being held in Allegheny County Jail.
“Anyone with information about this incident should call the Allegheny County Police Tipline at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477); callers can remain anonymous. The department can also be reached via its social media.”
Police reported that Morgan had been dating Swinton’s mother and was left in charge of her care on Wednesday while she went to work. He left for his own shift at a local gas station around 2 p.m., police eventually found him hidden in the crawl space of his girlfriend’s father’s house.
Morgan claimed Swinton had been ill while looking at her Tribune review reported. The child’s mother claimed she had behaved normally when she got up for work in the morning. Another child was also left in Morgan’s custody that day. The child reportedly told police he screamed and hit Swinton every time she closed her eyes while taking a bath.
Morgan has been detained without bail prior to an initial hearing on January 14.