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Father charged after allegedly beating 5-year-old son to death for eating Father's Day cheesecake

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee man is accused of beating his 5-year-old son to death. 

Travis Stackhouse, 29, is being held on $25,000 bond for first-degree reckless homicide.

Police were called to a home near 26th and Ruby just before 3:00 a.m. on June 22. When officers arrived on the scene, they found members of the Milwaukee Fire Department performing CPR on a 5-year-old child. The child was later pronounced dead on the scene. 

According to the criminal complaint, a member of the Milwaukee Fire Department noticed the child had several injuries and did not believe they were caused by a fall down the stairs, as reported by the boy's caretakers.

Police spoke with Stackhouse who said he has lived at the home with his girlfriend and their five children for the past year. Stackhouse told police he was the main caretaker for all five children as his girlfriend has a job, but did not know the birthdates for any of the children or the spelling of their names. He told police the 5-year-old who died was his son. 

Stackhouse initially told officers his 5-year-old son was playing with another child upstairs when he fell down the stairs the afternoon of June 21 but appeared to be okay. The complaint says Stackhouse said the boy later vomited and claimed his "tummy hurt." 

When Stackhouse's girlfriend came home June 21, they went outside to hang out with family and friends. When Stackhouse came back inside, he said he became angry when he found the three oldest children, including the 5-year-old, eating his Father's Day cheesecake. Stackhouse denied physically assaulting the children. 

The girlfriend then came back into the house and Stackhouse went out to the bar with friends. Stackhouse returned home around 2:00 a.m. June 22 and his girlfriend said something was wrong with the 5-year-old boy. She called 911 and first responders arrived on the scene. 

Detectives spoke with the brother of the 5-year-old, who, according to the complaint, said he saw Stackhouse hit the 5-year-old boy in the stomach and die. The brother said the 5-year-old never fell down the stairs. 

Police then arrested Stackhouse and confronted him with the child's statements. Stackhouse eventually admitted to punching the 5-year-old in the stomach on June 21 because the boy had eaten Stackhouse's Father's Day cheesecake. Stackhouse said he only had one piece of the cheesecake and was upset others were eating it. After punching the boy in the stomach, Stackhouse said he also used the back of his hand to hit both sides of the 5-year-old's face. Stackhouse continued to claim the 5-year-old fell down the stairs later on in the day. 

According to the complaint, Stackhouse admitted his girlfriend has often warned him not to hit the children so hard. 

If convicted, Stackhouse could spend 60 years in prison. 


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