Sheriff: 3-year-old may have died from hypothermia

Burke County Sheriff's deputies say autopsy results showed no signs of trauma on Landyn Melton.

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. – A toddler found dead on the porch of his Morganton home was laid to rest Monday,  while investigators suspect hypothermia may be to blame. A celebration of life service was held for 3-year-old Landyn Melton at the Burkemont Baptist Church. His family asked for privacy as they say their final goodbyes. 

"I've been in law enforcement for forty years and those type of cases never get easier, as a parent as a grandparent, your heart aches for that child, your heart aches for that family," said Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant.  

Sheriff Whisenant says his deputies are still investigation the toddler's death. 

A man called 911 Wednesday morning after passing by the child's Morganton home.  

"I got something that disturbs me," the caller said. "In the house right there on the corner, was laying a kid like two or three years old on his belly, on the porch, motionless," he explained.

Turns out, the caller had reason to be concerned. Deputies dispatched to the home found Melton's lifeless body on the porch. The front door was open, but the storm door was shut. Investigators woke up the child's mother and her boyfriend who were apparently unaware the child was outside.

Melton turned 3 the day before.  

According to the preliminary autopsy report, Melton showed no signs of trauma.  

"We have not been told it is definitely hypothermia," said Sheriff Whisenant. "That is something that it is appearing to be, obviously with the weather, temperature getting cold as it was, that was the first thought of what may have happened, but the investigation has broadened to make sure that's the case," he said.

Whienant says they are still waiting on toxicology reports, which could take an additional two weeks. In the meantime, his detectives continue to conduct interviews in this death investigation.

"We will complete the investigation by sending all of our reports to the district attorney's office for them to make a decision if any charges should be pursued or not," he declared.

Melton's family has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds to cover his headstone and funeral costs.  To donate, you can visit

Copyright 2017 WCNC


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