Homicide investigation launched in Anniston after death of 5-year-old

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ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — What began as an emergency call that led to Anniston Police Department officers responding to reports of a child having difficulty breathing has now been ruled a homicide.

The Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville gave its preliminary autopsy report to the Anniston Police Department on Monday, listing 5-year-old Gregory Caver’s cause of death as homicide.

When the death was ruled a homicide, the Calhoun County District Attorney’s Office issued capital murder warrants for Vonta McClellan and India Kimble, Caver’s mother.

McClellan was already in jail on a child abuse charge stemming from the initial investigation, while Kimble was taken into custody in Mobile by the U.S. Marshals.

The Anniston Police Department received a call on Friday with reports of a child having difficulty breathing.

Caver was transported to Anniston Emergency Medical Services before officers could arrive on scene.

He was airlifted from Stringfellow Memorial Hospital to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham where he later died.

The two adults who were home at the time of the incident were interviewed and initially released pending the autopsy results.

On Sunday, the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources (DHR) began a follow-up on the case and found there was another child inside the home that had been abused.

The child, a 7-year-old girl, had visible bruising and marks from what was believed to be strikes with a belt.

When representatives with the DHR informed the mother that the girl needed to be checked out by a doctor, she took the girl and fled in a vehicle.

Investigators with the Anniston Police Department then began searching for the mother, Secret Huguley. She was found and her four children were taken and handed over to DHR.

Police arrested McClellan, who was in the home when Caver was having difficulty breathing. He was taken into custody on child abuse charges and given a bond of $500,000.

Huguley was arrested for tampering with physical evidence and given a $1,000 bond.

Members of the church near where the little boy lived were grieving Tuesday.

His former Sunday school teacher made a homemade cross in his honor.

“As far as the church, when we first found out about it we were devastated. I mean you know everybody that was connected with the children were just devastated because it’s like we had adopted those children,” said Lillie Brown.

The family’s former landlord, Johnnie Johnson, says the little boy was very sweet and had made quite an impression in the six months or so since his mother first rented the property.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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