Further details surrounding the allegations of murder in the death of three-year-old Blake Litton of Stover have been released by the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.
This follows the filing of second degree murder charges against the child's mother, Jamie Ann (Miller) Litton, 25, of Stover and her boyfriend Thomas "T.J." Joseph Presley, 21, of Stover. Jamie Litton is also charged with two first degree counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Morgan County Sheriff Jim Petty indicated further charges against Presley are possible as well.
According to Petty, 911 received a phone call at 5:10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 reporting a pedestrian accident on Highway 135, northwest of Stover, in which a car had left the scene.
When the Morgan County deputy and the trooper from the Missouri State Highway Patrol arrived at the scene, they reportedly found Blake Litton suffering from severe injuries. The boy was taken to Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia and pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m.
In talking with Presley at the scene, officers found some inconsistencies with what he had told them, according to Petty, such as why Presley was there at 5 in the morning.
"They were doubtful that there was a car accident," Petty said.
Knowing the subject and some of his background, he said the officers determined that there needed to be further investigation and interviewed Presley and Jamie Litton.
Also contacting friends and relatives who had last seen Presley, Blake Litton and a two-year-old girl, officers discovered that Presley had been to Walmart around 2 in the morning Feb. 16 with the two children where Presley had purchased some food items for Jamie Litton, according to Petty.
Jamie Litton was working at the Golden Age Care Center in Stover. Presley reportedly took Litton the food sometime after 2 a.m.
Going to their residence some time after that, Presley allegedly punished Blake Litton for soiling his pants, according to Petty.
"It upset Mr. Presley and it got out of hand," Petty said.
Presley allegedly struck the boy to the extent that the injuries apparently caused death, according to Petty.
An autopsy performed on the afternoon of Feb. 16 will determine the cause of death, Petty said. Results are expected in four to five weeks.
"We treated this as a homicide from the beginning. The highway patrol was contacted and they came down and had a team that investigated the potential accident scene. We wanted to absolutely verify whether there was an accident or whether this was a homicide. The accident reconstruction team did not conclude that there had been an accident," Petty said. "This accident was staged, we know that."
The alleged assault is believed by police to have occurred around 3-3:30 a.m. Some time after that, Presley allegedly took the boy, contacted the mother and decided to fabricate the accident.
With forensics, police are attempting to recover text messages that were allegedly sent between Presley and Jamie Litton during this time.
Petty said they are unsure how much of a role Jamie Litton played in the alleged fabrication of the story but believe she knew that a fake accident was going to happen.
Police do not, however, believe that Blake Litton was run over as part of the accident story, according to Petty.
"There again, the autopsy will tell us definitely. But we don't believe that," he said.
Information uncovered from interviewing Jamie Litton's co-workers was used in the filing of charges against her.
"We believe that she knew the boy was severely injured and failed to act properly," Petty said.
As a result, it was determined by Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Dustin Dunklee to charge Jamie Litton with second degree murder as well.
"They felt that the facts that what she knew was going on and failed to act on it, implicated her into this type of charge," Petty said.
Presley did give a statement about the alleged assault in an interview with the highway patrol, but due to the litigation, Petty said he could not disclose at this point what Presley said.
After all of the interviews, the charges against Presley and Jamie Litton were officially filed Friday, Feb. 17. Presley and Litton each had bonds set at $100,000 cash only.
The two-year-old girl who was present was taken into custody by the Department of Family Services and has been placed with a grandparent.
Petty said he personally knows the grandparent and is satisfied with the placement.
The girl allegedly had some bruises and old injuries, though it is not sure at this time how old the injuries are. That will be determined by a doctor, Petty said.
There had been some calls to the family services hotline in the past, according to Petty, but he did not yet know the details of those calls or of any subsequent investigation.
Jamie Litton apparently also has two older children that she does not have custody of, Petty said. He did not have the particulars of that arrangement.
Presley and Jamie Litton along with the two children had reportedly only been living at their residence for two or three days, according to Petty. Before that, they had lived with parents and in-laws, he said.
The father of Blake Litton has been notified of the boy's death.