CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police have charged a woman with murder in the September death of a toddler who was first reported to have fallen down stairs.
Coltton Eliejah Doleman died Sept. 29 at Carolinas Medical Center, according to his obituary.
He would have turned 2 in December. Cassandra Latoya Mingo, 26, of Charlotte, was arrested in Las Vegas and is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse inflicting serious injury in connection with his death.
Coltton's grandmother told the Observer that on the day the boy was hurt, Mingo - a friend of the boy's mother - was watching Coltton while his mother was at work.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police did not provide information about the investigation until Wednesday.
Police spokesman Rob Tufano said detectives initially treated the case as a "death investigation" rather than a "homicide investigation" after it was reported that the boy's injuries were the result of him falling down stairs at a home on Cedars East Court, off Idlewild Road in east Charlotte.
But a medical examiner later determined that Coltton's injuries were consistent with blunt-force trauma and not a fall, Tufano said. Mingo was with Coltton at the time of the incident, Tufano said, and evidence suggested she was responsible for the boy's death.
Mingo was arrested recently in Las Vegas, where she was held until she was transported back to North Carolina this week.
Now Mingo is being held in Mecklenburg jail without bond for the murder charge. She also is charged with violating her probation.
Carolyn Doleman, Coltton's grandmother, said the family didn't realize police suspected foul play until Mingo was arrested. She said Coltton was active and playful despite a rare blood condition.
He loved music, dancing, watching movies and chasing the family's dogs, said Doleman, of Jacksonville, N.C. Last month, on what would have been Coltton's second birthday, his family held a party in his honor at Chuck E. Cheese's.
"We got him a cake," Doleman said. Records show Mingo has been convicted in North Carolina of misdemeanor larceny, failing to return rental property, second-degree trespassing and resisting an officer.
She was charged in 2008 with simple assault, but the charge was dismissed.
That same year, a court ordered Mingo to permanently have no contact with a woman who asked for the order, according to court records.