A woman in the United States has admitted to police that she fatally attacked a three-year-old boy with a tyre iron while he was brushing his teeth.
Te’Lea Jefferson, 23, from Tallahassee, Florida, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of murder and aggravated battery in the death of the young child.
She lived with him and his six-year-old brother, both of whom had suffered abuse in the past, as well as one of their parents, according to court records.
Arrest records recall the gruesome crime scene, with Jefferson telling police she remembered seeing blood spray from the boy as she swung the tyre iron at his head.
She drove the child to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital at around 7pm on Tuesday, October 20.
He had severe trauma to his head and face and was unresponsive with a high temperature, and medical staff pronounced him dead six minutes later, before contacting police.
Jefferson originally told officers the little boy was standing on the sink and brushing his teeth when he fell off and struck his head on the toilet, causing the porcelain to shatter.
But court records state the unnamed child’s injuries “were not consistent with the fall described by Jefferson”.
He had severe cuts on his face and hands, bruises on his arms and legs and signs of older injuries including scars on his shoulder and torso.
When confronted about the exact timeline of events, Jefferson admitted she attacked him after becoming angry when he wouldn’t get down off the sink.
The arrest report stated: “Jefferson said that she walked into the bedroom and retrieved the tyre iron from a tool kit.
“She advised that she returned to the bathroom and threw the tyre iron at him, striking him upon the side of the face.”
Jefferson at first said she only struck him once but later admitted hitting the boy several times, including after he tried to run away from her.
After the attack, she left the house to hide the weapon.
She later admitted the boy was unresponsive when she put him in her car and drove him to hospital.
Jefferson said she had used physical force against the boy and his brother during “prior incidents” and was in a relationship with a parent of the boys and would watch them about five times a week while the parent was at work.
Previous incidents of abuse are under investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The state agency has taken custody of the boy’s older brother, according to court records.
Jefferson is being held without bond in the Leon County Detention Facility in Tallahassee.