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Rasp
09-10-2016, 04:00 AM
Marion County boy accused of killing 2-year-old cousin (http://www.wftv.com/news/local/marion-county-10-year-old-arrested-charged-in-death-of-2-year-old-cousin/439200990)

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A 10-year-old boy accused of killing his 2-year-old cousin appeared in court Thursday.

Berhaun Blyden is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the death of Journee Blyden.

His court hearing lasted only minutes, and after asking for a public defender, Berhaun, wearing a yellow jumpsuit and with his hands crossed in front of him, was led from the room.

His mother quickly left the Marion County courtroom and replied “No” when she was asked for comment as she got onto an elevator.

Journee Blyden was found unresponsive June 21 at an Ocala home. She was taken to the hospital with severe head trauma and later died from her injuries.

There were five children in the home where the girl was injured, all under the age of 10, deputies said. The only adult in the home was asleep, investigators said.

Berhaun originally told detectives that Journee had fallen out of a playpen, but a medical examiner ruled her death a homicide. Investigators said the Berhaun’s story didn’t add up.

Based on interviews with witnesses and family members, detectives concluded that Berhaun caused the toddler’s injuries.

Detectives said another young family member said Berhaun abused her and Journee when adults weren't around.

“The initial report that we got was that Journee fell out of her playpen and caused these injuries to her head,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lauren Lettelier said.

When detectives questioned Berhaun about the child's statements, he told them that he had been running while holding Journee and had fallen on the kitchen floor, which caused her injuries.

He told them he put her on the counter and accidentally pushed her off the countertop.

A medical examiner determined that Journee’s injuries were not consistent with Berhaun’s statements.

“We were able to see who was telling the right story, and who was not,” said Lettelier.

The medical examiner found that her injuries could have been caused only by excessive force.

Berhaun was arrested Wednesday and is being held in the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center.

His next court appearance is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21.

Deputies have responded to the home at least 20 times for various issues over the last few years, investigators said.

Investigators from the Florida Department of Children and Families also said they have had contact with the family in the past. Eyewitness News is waiting to hear back from DCF about why they went to the home.

Kendall Blyden, Berhaun’s uncle, is on trial for killing his girlfriend’s baby in 2014, investigators said.

Investigators said Kendall Blyden was watching the child and said the baby fell out of a playpen. Deputies said the evidence showed that the child was beaten.