Mother, boyfriend jailed in death of 23-month-old Las Vegas boy

Updated October 24, 2018 - 11:20 pm

A Las Vegas mother has been arrested and a man charged with murder in connection with the death of her nearly 2-year-old son earlier this month, according to arrest documents.

Robert Smith, 29, has been charged with murder in the death of Jaiden Michael Stewart, a 23-month-old baby who died hours after being under the care of Smith on Oct. 9, according to Smith’s arrest report.

Stewart’s mother, 24-year-old Brianna Brown, was charged with two counts of child abuse and neglect in relation to injuries Jaiden and Brown’s other son, age 3, received.

Smith also faces two counts of child abuse and neglect for Jaiden and Brown’s other son, the report said. A Clark County Department of Family Services report showed the agency had no prior fatality or near fatality reports regarding the baby, his family or Smith. The arrest report showed police were called to Brown’s home at least once before when an anonymous person reported sounds of a child being beaten.

Jaiden died at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center after he was found in cardiac arrest in an apartment on the 700 block of East Twain Avenue, near Swenson Street, Las Vegas police have said. Homicide detectives were not originally called to the scene, but the coroner’s office said Tuesday that Jaiden’s death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma.

According to Smith’s arrest report, the man called 911 on Oct. 9 because Jaiden was suffering from a “medical episode.” Smith, whom police referred to as her boyfriend and caretaker to her three children, was watching the baby while Brown ran errands with her other son and daughter.

An autopsy revealed Jaiden had multiple severe injuries, including fractured and healing ribs, a “broken liver causing blood in the abdomen,” broken blood vessels in his eye, and hemorrhages in his spine, right side, kidney and head.

Child Protective Services took Brown’s other son to Sunrise Children’s Hospital the night of Oct. 9, where he was found to have a liver laceration and brain bleed that were deemed “abusive in nature,” according to the report.

Brown’s daughter told police Smith has hit her brothers when she and Brown were in another room because the boys “would not listen,” according to the report.

Officers interviewed Smith and Brown on Oct. 9, when Brown said Jaiden fell from a couch the night before, hitting his head on a wood floor. She also said he had a cough and a low fever the morning of Oct. 9.

Brown said Smith was a friend whom she paid $200 a month to watch her children while she was at work, and that the two were not dating, according to the report.

Smith was “evasive in his answers and at times confrontational” when police interviewed him, the report said. Smith claimed he was dating Brown for six months and watches her children because she had no family in Las Vegas, which was “found to be untrue.”

Smith “became confrontational” when officers asked him what happened when he was alone with Jaiden. He said the baby wasn’t breathing when he called 911 and that he didn’t know how Jaiden was injured.

On Sept. 19, police received an anonymous tip from someone who heard a man hitting children and “making threats to them and their mother” from Brown’s apartment, according to the report.

According to the report, body-camera footage showed Brown answering the door and saying she was alone before police saw Smith in the home.

Officers found two of the children on the couch “under a blanket,” but Brown and Smith denied domestic violence.

In an interview with the tipster after Jaiden’s death, the person reported hearing disturbances from the apartment about 10 times, with the sounds of a child being punched. The tipster also told police that one time when “Brown attempted to intervene, she was threatened as well,” according to the report.

A relative of Brown’s told police she heard about Jaiden’s death on the news, the redacted report showed. The woman said Brown and Smith were “lying to her” about why Jaiden died, and that she believed Brown “feels indifferent.”

Police determined the injuries Jaiden received from Smith ultimately led to his demise, according to the report.

Smith and Brown were arrested Friday, and they remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Wednesday without bail, jail records show.

A preliminary hearing for Brown and Smith is set for Nov. 5, court records show.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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