An Eagan couple faces criminal charges in the death of a 3-year-old boy beaten to death last summer.
The boy's foster mother, Zeporia Fortenberry, 31, faces two counts of manslaughter. Her boyfriend, 27-year-old Charles Homich, also faces manslaughter charges, as well as three counts of second-degree murder for the incident on June 7, 2017.
The criminal complaint said police and medics were called to a townhome in Eagan that day and found 3-year-old Zayden Lawson lying dead on the living room floor. An autopsy found he'd suffered liver lacerations, cuts to his scalp and intestinal injuries before he died and had bruising on both his legs. His death was attributed to "multiple blunt force injuries."
Investigators found that Fortenberry worked a night shift and had left Homich to care for her own two children as well as Zayden and his younger brother, both foster children. The boy reported feeling ill and had vomited, and Fortenberry reported laying him on the floor in the living room, then noticed he'd stopped breathing and lost consciousness.
Another woman later told police Fortenberry had asked her to watch the children most weeknights for more than a month because Homich had "whooped" Zayden. The woman also told police that she'd heard the boy tell Fortenberry that Homich had hit him in the head for soiling his diaper. Fortenberry later told the woman that she believed Homich was regularly assaulting the boy at night. Investigators also found text messages between Fortenberry and Homich suggesting that Zayden was beaten on a regular basis.
Homich made an initial appearance on the charges on Monday. Fortenberry was in court April 12.