A South Salt Lake man was charged Thursday with second-degree murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of a 2-year-old boy Sunday.
Michael D. Lane, 28, 270 Wilson Ave., was charged with the crime after state Medical Examiner Sharon Schnittker found that the toddler had died from "several hard blows" to his head.Third Circuit Court documents said Schnittker believed the blows could not have occurred accidently in the home where the boy was found.
The toddler's mother, Jennifer Watts, 20, left her son with Lane at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday while she went to church. Lane, who had been living with Watts for two months, told
police that he had put the child "down for a nap" prior to noon Sunday, according to the court documents.
When the boy's mother returned from church, she looked into the room of her home at 270 E. 1750 South but didn't see anything wrong until she decided to wake the baby about 5:15 p.m. At that point, she noticed that her child, Paul Eugene Watts, was dead.
A friend of the family told police that the mother was apprehensive about leaving the baby with the man because they had found bruises on him a week earlier and could not explain them. Police said the baby had some bruises on his buttocks.
The boyfriend told the woman he had been asleep while she was at church, a police report said.
The two-year-old boy was the second child killed in Salt Lake County in the past two weeks. Jay Thompson, 11 months, son of George and Kay Thompson of West Valley city, died Jan. 29 after he was apparently shaken to death. A Kearns woman who was baby-sitting the child has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death.