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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

Death of 2-year-old boy in Columbus ruled a homicide

Clifford "Jace" Stark III died at Nationwide Children's Hospital in October 2019. New documents reveal his death was ruled a homicide and that there is evidence of a history of physical abuse.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was a warm October afternoon when first responders rushed to the home of Clifford "Jace" Stark III off Refugee Road in southeast Columbus.

A 911 caller reported he was blue, barely breathing and had a broken arm.

体育投注The little boy, who had turned 2 years old just days before, was rushed to Nationwide Children's Hospital. He died the next day, on Oct. 8, 2019.

A Columbus police report shows the mom reported she believed Jace fell off while jumping on the bed. But the hospital's trauma surgeon disputed that report, according to a search warrant.

体育投注The once-sealed search warrant shows Jace was bleeding internally in his abdomen, "causing a life-threatening condition." The surgeon said a fall from the bed was not consistent with that injury.

体育投注Hospital social workers said Jace had bruises on "various parts of his body" and suspected he was the "victim of child physical abuse," according to the search warrant.

体育投注The search warrant also reveals that, while the mom said she was the sole parent living in the home, the father admitted to police that he had been staying there as well. Both denied any physical discipline of Jace or causing any injuries.

The autopsy and coroner's report released this week shows Jace had extensive injuries, ranging from bruises on his forehead to a cut on his lip and a severely broken arm. The coroner ruled his cause of death was from multiple blunt force trauma and that it was a homicide.

The report also showed a history of injuries, including trauma to the face and a cut near his eyes that happened on Sept. 23, 2019, roughly one year before his death. It was also noted that he was missing clumps of hair and had extensive lice.

The original police report made note of the lice, also mentioning his sister had lice and scabies and that there were concerns of neglect.

Franklin County Children Services confirmed to 10TV of having previous contact with the family.

体育投注On Oct. 2, FCCS said agency employees responded to the home on a report of physical abuse, but that report was unsubstantiated.

体育投注Five days later, first responders went to the house again and found Jace barely alive.

体育投注The search warrant notes that the mother had had her children removed from her before, back in October 2016, about one year before Jace was born.

体育投注At that time, it was because of alleged domestic violence with the father.

体育投注Two sisters were again removed from the home the day Jace was rushed to the hospital, and they are still in foster care, according to FCCS officials.

Jace was first placed in foster care less than one month after he was born and stayed for more than a year and a half. He was returned to his home in May, roughly five months before his death.

10TV also discovered several “abuse and neglect” juvenile court cases tied to the family. But the files could not be viewed.

体育投注Columbus police confirmed a homicide investigation is underway. No arrest warrants have been issued, and no charges have been filed.