Portsmouth Police: 2 arrested in connection with death of 2-year-old; charged with 2nd-degree murder and abuse

Virginia News
18-year-old Talaysia Nelson
18-year-old Rocky Ali Mugynei II

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Police say they have arrested and charged two 18-year-olds in connection with the death of a young child earlier this month.

The Portsmouth Police Department charged Rocky Ali Mugynei II and Talaysia Nelson with second-degree murder and felony child abuse.

On Feb. 9, police say Nelson and Mugynei were involved in a child abuse incident in the 10th block of Suburban Circle, which resulted in the death of a 2-year-old.

Both were arrested on Wednesday, Feb. 17, around 4:30 p.m.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Court documents give some insight into what Mugynei and Nelson are accused of doing.

Portsmouth emergency medical crews responded to the apartment on Subburban Circle around 3:20 p.m. Feb. 9. They arrived to find the 2-year-old boy laying on the floor of the hallway and his father, Mugynei, performing CPR. The boy’s mother and paternal grandmother were also standing nearby.

The boy was taken to Maryview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

During the police investigation, the three people said they had left the boy sitting on the couch watching television as they took a call in the next room. When they came back, they said they discovered the boy unresponsive and laying on his side.

The mother said she “flicked water” in the boy’s face to try to wake him, but he did not respond. The father called his mother — the boy’s grandmother — and called 911, then began CPR.

The parents told police the boy had been throwing up “profusely” the day before. He wouldn’t eat and only drank a small amount of water. Police asked why they didn’t seek medical attention, to which they responded that they didn’t believe the illness was serious enough, according to court documents.

The boy’s maternal grandmother, who was not at the house when the boy was found unresponsive, asked to speak to police at Maryview.

She showed police screenshots from Instagram messages between herself and her daughter regarding suspected abuse.

Nelson and the boy had been living with the maternal grandmother up until they had a “falling out” about a month before the child’s death. After that falling out, Nelson and the child went to live with Mugynei.

That’s when the maternal grandmother said she began noticing bruising on video calls with the child. She hadn’t seen bruising until the living arrangements changed.

The grandmother “specifically identified the bruising” on the boy’s neck and face, and described two separate incidents in which she saw Mugynei roughly “snatch” the child.

An autopsy was done one day later by the medical examiner’s office. A doctor from the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and a police detective observed.

The medical examiner found the boy had bruises over most of his body, including “extensive” bruising on his neck. There were also bruises on his forehead, back of the head, arms, chest and left leg. There were scratches and abrasions on his arms, chest, left cheek, and above the right eye.

The doctors said the scratches and abrasions looked like fingernail marks from where the child was grabbed.

Abrasions inside the boy’s mouth appeared to be the result of his mouth being pushed inward and onto the teeth.

The boy had more than 150cc of blood pooled in his abdomen, and there were two lacerations on his liver.

Nelson, however, told investigators she, Mugynei, a friend of Mugynei’s and the paternal grandmother were the only people around the boy in the 48 hours before his death.

“She said that she had been inside the apartment the entire day and had not seen anyone treat [the boy] roughly,” documents state.

She also said she had bathed the boy as soon as a few hours before his death and didn’t see injuries.

She also told investigators that the boy played hard and fell regularly, and couldn’t explain his injuries. The father was the person who disciplined the boy, but “corporal punishment was rarely used.”

Mugynei also spoke with police. He said he spanked the child when he misbehaved, including when he defecated on himself while toilet training.

He said he used a belt for the spankings and accidentally hit the boy in the genitals while spanking one time. He said his fingernails sometimes scratched the boy when he grabbed him.

He said he frequently played rough with the boy and on the night he died, he was play wrestling showing him the “elbow drop” style move.

Mugynei allegedly told police the only time the internal injuries could have happened was during play.

However, a child abuse pediatrician said the injuries seen during the autopsy couldn’t have happened during play.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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