KC mom heartbroken that toddler suffered severe pain before death, says babysitter had been trustworthy

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 15-month-old boy died Wednesday from the injuries he received after he was repeatedly and severely beaten on Sunday, May 29. The babysitter, a friend of the child's mother is facing charges.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker alleges that Nathaniel Littlefield, 31, was left to care for the woman's two sons while she went to work. When she returned, her 15-month-old baby, Messiah Henderson, was unresponsive. Doctors at Children's Mercy Hospital say the child had severe head trauma and a lacerated liver.

Early Wednesday morning he was removed from life support and passed away.

"Just the fact that he suffered.  That's the main thing, the fact that he suffered I know.  I just couldn't imagine that happening to him," said Marissa Bruce, Messiah's mom.

Police questioned Littlefield and say he told them he hit the child in the head repeatedly. But he claimed he was trying to wake him up and resuscitate him.

According to the probable cause statement, Littlefield also left the 15-month-old boy and his 5-month-old brother home alone while he picked up their mother from work.

When he stopped answering her phone calls on Sunday and when he picked her up from work without her sons with him, she said she knew something wasn't right.  She says when she got home, she ran to check on her children.

"I don't know how long he was laying there suffering.  I go to work from 3 to 11.  How long was my baby laying there?" said Bruce.

After obtaining a search warrant for the home near 57th and East Michigan Ave., police say they found an apparent bloody baby wipe in the kitchen trash can.

"He's watched them before, and he done a good job.  Bathed them, fed them, everything," Bruce said.

Bruce said she thought she was doing the right thing, working to provide for her children and leaving them in the care of someone they knew. The children's mother says Littlefield was someone she and others trusted. She said he worked for the Boys and Girls Club.

"It just makes you feel like you can't trust nobody. That's the sad part," she said.

The Boys and Girls Club sent FOX 4 a statement that said they are sad to hear about the charges brought against Nathaniel Littlefield. They say he was just hired there in April 2016 and passed the screening process. A club representative says Littlefield went through a thorough background check. Right now, he's on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation and charges.

After Messiah was admitted to the hospital but before his death, Baker filed charges against Littlefield for child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Additional charges are now possible.

The case remains under investigation.

Prosecutors requested a $100,000 bond for Littlefield.

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