Prosecutors on Wednesday filed murder charges against a 20-year-old woman and her boyfriend in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son.
Cassie Smith and 40-year-old Joshua Oxford were arrested on child abuse charges after Daniel Theriot’s body was found Monday in a remote area near Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Police said his 2-year-old brother was taken by Child Protective Services and transported to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where staffers discovered signs of physical abuse.
Smith told detectives that Daniel’s injuries occurred while he was in Oxford’s custody.
But Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly said Daniel’s autopsy “indicated ongoing abuse” at the hands of both Smith and Oxford.
Smith reported Daniel missing Sunday morning at Sunset Park.
She told officers that she had taken the child to the park to feed the ducks before her phone rang. She said she turned her back on Daniel and when she turned around, he was gone. But police doubted her account after no one at the park recalled seeing the woman and child together.
Defense attorney Scott Bindrup, who represents Smith, said she has no criminal history and moved to Las Vegas from Houston about a month ago.
In Texas, Smith had worked for about a year as a home health worker, the lawyer said.
Court records show that Oxford pleaded guilty in 2013 to child neglect or endangerment and was sentenced to three years of probation. According to prosecutors, Oxford had failed to appear in court 11 times in previous cases.
Deputy Public Defender Sarah Hawkins said Oxford has lived in Las Vegas since he was 11 and that he has family in the area.