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Parents booked for murder after infant's death; pair allegedly abused 6-week-old twins

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BATON ROUGE - Two parents are facing first-degree murder charges after investigators determined they abused a pair of 6-week-old twins, one of whom was found dead in his crib. 

According to arrest documents from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, deputies first arrived at the Regency Club apartments off Sherwood Forest Boulevard early Friday morning.

Brandee Williams told deputies her son was still alive when she left the apartment around 6:30 p.m. Thursday night. Williams explained she returned home around 10:30 p.m. and only noticed he was unresponsive when she tried to wake him up to feed him. She said she tried to administer CPR and contacted emergency responders, who arrived around midnight. 

Paramedics pronounced the infant dead at the scene. 

Darryl Richardson was home alone with the boy and said he placed the child in the bassinet around 7:45 p.m.. Richardson claims he flipped the infant onto his stomach because he wouldn't stop crying and the boy then fell asleep. 

East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark tells us that doesn't add up.

"They're not consistent in the fact that. Just turning the baby over does not cause these types of injuries," Clark told WBRZ.

On Monday, the coroner's office examined the victim and found signs of blunt-force trauma and hemorrhaging in the boy's head. A medical examination also showed the boy's twin sister had a skull fracture and other injuries.

Clark says the injuries likely weren't from an accident like a fall.

"I'm sure if you were dropped from a height, it's potentially possible. However, I would refer to my forensic pathologist who sees a lot of these cases, and there are certain things through her examination of the body that can make a determination whether it is accidental or, in this case, what we believe is inflicted," he explained.

Both parents were called in for questioning Monday night, claiming they had no idea how their children got those injuries and requesting their attorneys. Both were initially booked for cruelty, but their charges were upgraded Thursday to include first-degree murder.

On Friday, Judge Mike McDonald increased Williams' bond to $1 million and ordered that Richardson remained jailed without bond.

Court records show Richardson was arrested in March 2022 for injuring a 5-week-old girl who ended up in the emergency room. Medical personnel said the baby girl's eyelid was swollen. Doctors said the eye had hemorrhaged and was bleeding into her eyeball.

In that case, officers said Richardson admitted to hitting the baby in the face with the back of his hand because she was crying. Richardson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and received a deferred sentence, was ordered to take parenting classes, and was subject to other court-imposed conditions. 

The Department of Children and Family Services said it was informed of the prior abuse case last year but ended its involvement after Richardson was denied contact with the child in that case via a protective order. 

The couple has other children who have since been turned over to DCFS. The agency released the following statement Thursday afternoon.

"As a Department, it is our desire to provide information that we are allowed to provide, while maintaining the respect and dignity of those involved and those who confidentially report suspected child abuse and/or neglect.

DCFS is saddened to report the tragic death of a 1-month-old male who passed away on April 14, 2023. The child’s death was ruled a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome and was reported to DCFS on April 17, 2023, upon completion of the autopsy.

DCFS received custody of the surviving children on April 18, 2023. The Department initiated a comprehensive medical exam of the children that revealed concerning injuries in the surviving twin.

A sibling of the deceased child was the subject of a child welfare investigation in March of 2022. DCFS found the father was responsible for the abuse, but the mother had not harmed the child. When DCFS’s involvement ended, a criminal protective order was in place, prohibiting the father from having contact with the child."

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