Man Charged With Abuse in Toddler's Death

Police say the death of a 2-year-old boy has turned what was a case of alleged child abuse into a homicide investigation.

Robert Dean Watkins was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital by his guardian, Melissa Brittle, on September 5 after he reportedly fell down six steps in their Apples Church Road home in Thurmont, Maryland.

But when hospital staff examined him, they found injuries that were not consistent with a fall, investigators said. Child Protective Services and the Frederick County Bureau of Investigation were notified and launched an investigation.

Robert was transferred to Children's Hospital in critical condition later that day.

Raymond Matthew Brittle, 39, of Thurmont, Md., was taken into custody on Friday and charged with first and second degree child abuse.

Three days after he was first admitted to the hospital, Robert died from his injuries, authorities announced Monday. An exact cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

Additional charges, if any, against Raymond Brittle will be determined following discussions with Child Protective Services and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Police said four children other children lived in the home and are now in the custody of Child protective Services.

Police did not release the relation between the Brittles and Robert.

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