Mother, her 22-year-old boyfriend charged in connection to death of 4-year-old in South Milwaukee
Updated: 10:26 a.m. on Mar. 3, 2020
MILWAUKEE COUNTY (CBS 58) -- Charges have been filed against a 21-year-old mother and her 22-year-old boyfriend in connection to the death of a 4-year-old child in South Milwaukee on Friday, Feb. 28.
Christina Collado has been charged with chronic neglect of a child and Jerome Millen has been charged with one count of physical abuse of a child, repeated acts causing death.
According to a criminal complaint, on Feb. 28 the South Milwaukee Fire Department was dispatched to a home near 4th and Montana for a report of a child that was pulseless and not breathing.
Collado was at the home when authorities arrived, but investigators say Millen left the home minutes beforehand. The criminal complaint said Millen stated he was "freaking out and that he had to get out" of there.
Authorities reported numerous bruises, including circular bruises on both sides of the child's jaw, as well as a significant bruise on the child's head. There was a large patch of skin on the child's left knee that officials believed to be a burn injury.
Life-saving measures were performed on the little girl but were unsuccessful. The child was pronounced dead at the home; a lieutenant at the scene believed she was dead long before paramedics arrived. The medical examiner ruled the child's death a homicide.
When authorities asked Collado about the bruises on her child's body, a criminal complaint says she provided accidental explanations.
Officials interviewed Millen's mother, who stated her son disciplined the child and it was sometimes "harder than it should have been."
Authorities interviewed another relative of Millen, who confirmed overhearing many instances of Millen yelling at the child, followed by crying and then observed bruises on multiple occasions. The relative told investigators she heard the child being struck followed by them crying out. "Over and over" she said she heard the sounds of Millen abusing the little girl.
Millen's relative recalled a month ago, when she told the child it was time for a bath, the child began to "freak out" and when asked why, the child reportedly stated she was afraid of a bath because Millen holds her head under water and she can't breath. The relative stated she didn't confront Millen about the abuse because she "was afraid of him."
Investigators interviewed Millen, who admitted to covering the child's mouth multiple times throughout the evening. Millen stated early that Friday, the child would not go to sleep so in response, Millen put a pillow over her face with his hands on the back of her neck to hold the pillow in place while stating, "do we understand each other, you are going to sleep." Millen admitted he held the girl's face down into the pillow while applying pressure.
Millen admitted to striking the child multiple times and admitted to holding the child's head underwater so she could "learn to hold her breath."
Millen stated in the interview, "if all the injuries caused [the child] to die, it's my fault, my fault." He further stated "if she suffocated that is my responsibility and I killed that child."
Updated: 7:05 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2020
SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The 21-year-old mother and a 22-year-old man have been taken into custody in relation to the death of a 4-year-old child in South Milwaukee Friday.
The case will be reviewed by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office next week.
Posted: 3:44 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2020
SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The death of a 4-year-old child in South Milwaukee is under investigation.
Police and paramedics were called to a home near 4th and Montana Avenues, just after 7 a.m., on Friday, Feb. 28.
Officials say life-saving measures were performed on the child, but were unsuccessful and the child was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to police, caregivers are being interviewed and an autopsy will be performed.
The child's death remains under investigation.