A Sioux Falls man is behind bars and facing murder charges for the death of an 18-month-old boy on Christmas Day.
First responders received a call Christmas Eve about an unresponsive child at an apartment building on South Sycamore Avenue. The toddler died the next day. Investigators said it appears the boy was beaten.
Twenty-four-year-old Manegabe Chebea Ally faces several charges including premeditated murder and three counts of manslaughter in the first degree.
Court papers reveal Ally is the toddler's mother's boyfriend and he was babysitting the boy and his six-year-old sister while the mom was at work.
When he called authorities, he said the boy was taking a nap in a full sized bed and fell out. When he went into the bedroom, he claims he found the boy lying on the floor with blood coming from the corner of his mouth.
However, early in the investigation, childhood specialists quickly realized the injuries were much more severe.
An autopsy revealed blunt force to the toddler's head caused significant swelling, bleeding and bruising to his head and brain. Examiners also found pattern bruising on both arms, his left thigh and his ankle, as well as small tears in the toddler's skin behind his ears.
The Minnehaha County Coroner said it is unlikely that falling out of bed onto carpet would cause these severe injuries.
The victim's mother told investigators she left both of her kids with the suspect while she was at work. The suspect called her on her lunch break and told her, her son was sick, but did not say why. The suspect picked her up from work and took her and her daughter to the hospital. Earlier that day, the mom said she had talked to the suspect on the phone, and could hear her kids on the phone and they sounded fine.
We knocked on several doors at the apartment building to see if neighbors could tell us more about what happened. They did not want to go on camera, but said they were concerned. Some neighbors also said, because the initial call was for an accidental injury, there was not a huge commotion. Several said they only saw one or two police cars and an ambulance.
Prior to calling 911, the suspect said he was playing with the toddler and holding him up by his arms near his shoulders and tossing him lightly into the air. He was also holding him in the air by his legs. He claims the boy was laughing and having fun and that this did not cause the deadly injuries.
Court papers also reveal the toddler's sister was in the apartment when this happened. She said she was in her bedroom and her door was mostly closed, but she heard her younger brother start to cry.
Ally will be in Minnehaha County Court on Friday.