The State Attorney’s Office has formally filed a murder charge against the stepfather of a 22-month-old boy who died Nov. 15.
Montez Charles McNeal, 25, of Bradenton, was charged with murder Tuesday in addition to an initial charge of aggravated child abuse in connection with the death of Ethan Thompson.
McNeal has been in custody at the Manatee County jail since his initial arrest on Nov. 17. He is currently being held without bond, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
At approximately 11:40 p.m. Nov. 14, sheriff’s deputies responded to the unresponsive Ethan at a residence in the 3300 block of Fourth Street East in Bradenton. The toddler was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead early the following day.
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An autopsy later revealed that Ethan’s injuries at the time of his death included seven broken ribs at various stages of healing, a skull fracture at the crown of his head, bruises and a deep cut on his penis, a ruptured and swollen kidney and other torn tissues and bleeding.
“The news of Ethan’s death is heartbreaking and we are all praying for those who loved him,” said the Florida Department of Children and Families in a statement issued last month to the Bradenton Herald.
Ethan’s siblings — five boys ages 6 months and 3, 4, 11 and 12 — have all been placed in foster care.