After man charged in 2-month-old’s death, mother shares grief, searches for answers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There are still many unanswered questions for the mother of a 2-month-old baby boy who died in August.

Tests just revealed the child had been severely abused, and the mother's ex-boyfriend is now charged in the baby's death.

"He was a beautiful baby. He had so much personality," J'Cara Ellis said.

Ellis said she was nervous to become a single mom, but baby Ja'Marion was the light of her life.

"When he was here, it was nothing but happiness. He brought so much love and joy," she said.

Family members helped watch Ja'Marion when Ellis went back to work.

"She was responsible. She was all about her son," said J'Cara's cousin, Karlee Ellis.

Baby Ja'Marion's grandpa and godmother pitched in to help babysit when J'Cara went back to work.

And this summer, J'Cara started dating a long-time friend, Arlandez Drew, who has two kids of his own. She said he volunteered to watch her baby on Aug. 23.  She said he had already watched the baby with another family member before.

"This is someone I knew. I wouldn't have left my son with him that morning knowing that I couldn't trust him, that he could harm my child," J'Cara said.

But that day, a neighbor called her at work in a panic, telling her to get home. Her son wasn't breathing. Drew had asked for the neighbor's help and indicated they'd performed CPR and called 911.

"I had to watch my son lay there lifeless," J'Cara said.

Ja'Marion was at Children's Mercy for just two days when he died. Doctors told J'Cara the baby had brain and eye bleeds and extreme swelling.

Months later, a medical examiner confirmed Ja'Marion died of "head and neck trauma" and ruled the manner of death a homicide.

"What did he do to deserve this? What did I do to deserve this, you know?" J'Cara said.

Drew told police the baby had "began choking on formula" then quit breathing.

J'Cara said doctors told her the baby had likely stopped breathing 25 minutes before he got help and had been hit on the back.

Drew is now charged with child neglect resulting in death, but hasn't told police or J'Cara what caused the baby's traumatic head injury.

"It hurts every day, just knowing I can't wake up to my son. All I have is pictures -- that's it," she said.

Her baby's ashes are now embedded in tiny footprints she wears around her neck. J'Cara and her family are now left to cherish memories and pray for justice.

"I don't understand how you can sleep at night, how you can go on about your regular day knowing you hurt a child, a 2-month-old that couldn't fend for himself," Karlee Ellis said.

"No amount of time he serves is going to bring my son back. It can't replace his life, but it will give him justice," J'Cara said.

Drew is being held on $100,000 bond and is due in court Dec. 12.

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