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Man facing murder charge after toddler dies of head injuries

A 18-month-old boy thrown to the floor multiple times over the weekend in Las Vegas died Tuesday, police said.

The child’s foster parent, Craig J. Dickens, 34, initially faced charges of child abuse but now faces a murder charge, court records show. He is being held without bail at Clark County Detention Center.

Police responded early Sunday morning to Siegel Suites, 3890 Graphic Center Drive, near Tropicana Avenue. Dickens told Metropolitan Police Department officers that the child fell from his crib, but doctors at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center determined that abuse caused the injuries.

Police said the toddler was thrown across the room twice. He suffered from a broken skull and underwent surgery to treat injuries that doctors called “extremely critical.”

He died Tuesday evening.

Next-door neighbor Traci Silva-Engel said she played with the child within days of his death. The boy especially loved to run, she said.

“I thought if he made it, he’d be a marathon runner,” she said.

During a phone conversation Wednesday, Dickens’ stepfather said his stepson is known to drink but isn’t a violent person.

“This is totally out of character for him,” Richard Crofts of Ohio said.

The Clark County coroner’s office has not yet released the child’s identity, or the cause and manner of death.

The child’s death is the 129th homicide in Clark County and the 108th homicide investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Contact Rachel Hershkovitz at rhershkovitz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @rzhershkovitz on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Mike Shoro contributed to this report.

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