An ex-convict is accused of viciously assaulting his girlfriend's baby and then stealing her belongings and selling them off while she was at hospital with the dying child.
David Earl Vickers, 31 and from Florida, has been charged with second degree murder, child abuse and grand theft.
Vickers would often stay home to babysit his girlfriend Melissa Wolfe's son, Luca Sholey, and her 3-year-old daughter, while the mother slaved away working two jobs, seven days a week, investigators say.
Baby Luca was under Vicker's supervision on 21 August when he suffered traumatic injuries to his head and chest. Vicker's dialled 911 and said the boy had fallen down the stairs but police say "the injuries were consistent with child abuse".
Luca was brain dead and died in hospital four days later on 25 August. While his devastated mother was at the hospital praying for his survival, police allege Vickers stole her laptop and sold it at a pawn shop for $60 (£46) on 23 August.
Vickers also allegedly stole her car stereo and pawned that for $30 before Luca was taken to hospital on the day he was fatally injured. Vickers admitted to police that he was a heroin user.
Grieving mum Wolfe became suspicious that Vickers was responsible for her disappearing items after finding a water bottle with the pawn shop logo in her car.
Furthermore, police uncovered a number of videos filmed before 21 August that show Luca in various states of suffering, consistent with having just been abused. Medical examiners found the baby had six different broken ribs in different stages of healing – two of them likely to have been damaged 5 days before the final and deadly attack.
Luca was recently diagnosed with pinkeye and thrush in his mouth. These are now understood to have been caused by trauma to his face. His other injuries included a bruised chest, broken thumb, brain haemorrhage and liver injury.
Vickers is being held without bail at the Manatee County Jail in Florida. He was already in custody in relation to an unrelated case when he was charged, People reported.