Dad Charged With Murder After His 22-Month-Old Son Died in His Care

The Raleigh Police Department has arrested a father accused of playing a role in the overdose death of his 22-month-old son. Dante DeQuelles Jocatte, 36, was charged with felony child abuse and second-degree murder…

Dad Charged With Murder After His 22-Month-Old Son Died in His Care

The Raleigh Police Department has arrested a father accused of playing a role in the overdose death of his 22-month-old son.

Dante DeQuelles Jocatte, 36, was charged with felony child abuse and second-degree murder in the death of Elijah DeLeo with the force of a weapon after he allegedly mixed heroin and cocaine with his son’s teething syrup.

A fourth person is also in custody, according to Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, who says that she has no idea what role she had in the incident.

“I don’t know what role I played in this,” Deck-Brown said at a press conference. “What I do know is my department will respond to these cases immediately.”

Police discovered three packets of heroin and one bundle of white powder in the boy’s system when they arrived at the home they shared with Jocatte’s two other children and two other children in the house. Elijah had overdosed twice after being given the mixture. He eventually had to be revived with Narcan, a drug used to revive opioid overdose victims, according to police.

“He was a happy, peaceful baby,” Grayson Shepherd, Elijah’s maternal grandmother, told the Raleigh News & Observer . “He loved everybody.”

The man who lived with them, DeQuonte Scott, told police that he bought the heroin off an African American man at a local convenience store. DeQuonte told police he walked out of the store without paying for the drugs because he suspected Elijah was going to be too upset.

Shepherd said that she was devastated over the allegations against Scott, adding that he’s “not the mother I thought he was.”

“He loved him like my own,” Shepherd said. “I never seen a happier baby.”

Deck-Brown said that they don’t know if other children had been in the home with Elijah before they were taken to a hospital where the toddler died.

Elijah’s mother, Kelly Pattee Williamson, did not live in the home. She told the News & Observer that her two other children, ages 4 and 7, are safe with family members.

Shepherd and Pattee Williamson tried to adopt Elijah after they lost custody of him and his older brother. Williamson says that she would have given up custody of the boys if he hadn’t died.

“If we just had the help,” Williamson said. “You feel so guilty but we’ve lost these kids.”

Williamson says the drug industry is scapegoating mothers while they profit off of families like hers.

“Who has any empathy for these babies?” she said. “They make money off these little babies. They don’t talk about the actual people that put them in there.”

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