CRIME
10/02/2013 12:43 pm ET

Tommy Shannon Jr. Charged With Murder In Toddlers Brutal Slaying

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

Authorities say a 22-year-old Indiana man has been charged in connection with the brutal murder of his girlfriend's two-year old son.

According to the LaPorte County Sheriff's Department, Tommy Shannon Jr., of Michigan City, was charged Tuesday in LaPorte Superior Court with one count of murder and two counts of felony battery.

Shannon was arrested Monday and is being held without bond in the LaPorte County Jail.

The coroner ruled Nizeir Brown's death a homicide, citing blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

Authorities say the child was taken to the hospital on August 13, by his mother, who has not yet been identified, and Shannon. The boy was suffering from convulsions when he was admitted and later died at the hospital, police said.

During autopsy, LaPorte County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Huffman determined Brown had sustained serious internal injuries. The autopsy also allegedly revealed evidence of previous abuse.

Authorities said they suspect Shannon intentionally killed Brown by delivering physical force to the child’s abdomen.

LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi did not immediately return a call for comment from The Huffington Post on Wednesday. Speaking with the Times of Northwest Indiana, Szilagyi said the child, "punched so bad that his pancreas basically was split in half."

According to the prosecutor’s office, investigators are considering charges against the boy's mother.

"We believe she had some idea what was going on and didn't report anything," Szilagyi told the Times.

The child's grandmother, whose name was also not released, is reportedly facing charges for obstruction of justice, for failure to report the alleged abuse.

At the time of his arrest, Shannon was being held in the Vanderburgh County Jail on an outstanding warrant for a prior felony offense, police said. Details of that case are not yet known.

Shannon's defense attorney, John Michael Espar, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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