NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – North Miami Beach Police are investigating the death of a toddler late June 20 as a homicide.
The 2-year-old, Ezra Raphael, was in the care of his mother’s boyfriend while she was at work according to police.
Police received a 911 call that night, just after 11 p.m., to respond to the report of an unresponsive child.
When they arrived, they found Ezra unconscious on the dining room floor.
Days later, the medical examiner ruled the child’s death to be murder.
Claude Alexis, the mother’s boyfriend, was charged with aggravated child abuse and murder.
The investigation didn’t stop with Alexis.
Police say evidence they uncovered in the course of their probe led them to charge Ezra’s mother, Cierrah Raphael, with child neglect, saying she had left the baby alone and unattended numerous times.
Raphael’s foster mother appointed by the Department of Children and Families, Deborah Elder, who lives in Miami Gardens, told CBS4’s Brian Andrews she helped raise Ezra after he was born.
“I just don’t understand it. My grand baby is gone, Elder said.”
Elder says she remembers Ezra as always smiling and happy.
“Like a little baby, anything you put before him, he loved it to play with it. Just the sweetest child. The sweetest child in the world, she said.”
Elder didn’t know anything about Raphael’s boyfriend, Claude Alexis, except to say she’d met him once in April.
North Miami Beach say he has a felony criminal past.
Alexis was being held without bond, because of the murder charge, at the Miami-Dade Jail.
As of Tuesday night Raphael had not yet posted bond on the second degree felony of child neglect.