A 36-year-old rural Randall man faces criminal charges following the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.
Robert Eugene O'Jala was arrested on probable cause of felony first-degree assault Monday after admitting to Morrison County sheriff's deputies and county social services staffers that he threw Dylan Martin Jr. to the floor in their rural Randall home and then noticed the child had difficulty breathing.
Dylan Martin Jr. was taken by his mother, Samantha Martin, to Lakewood Health System hospital in Staples on Monday and later transported to Minneapolis Children's Hospital.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said the hospital reported Dylan Martin Jr. suffered severe head trauma consistent with an assault. The child was unresponsive on a ventilator in critical condition, the hospital reported.
Dylan Martin Jr. died Wednesday at the Minneapolis hospital.
"Any death of a child is tragic," Wetzel said. "This seems all the more so when the person accused being responsible for the death is also a caregiver."
Wetzel said an autopsy is scheduled to determine the official cause of death.
O'Jala is in custody in the Morrison County jail. Formal criminal charges are pending from the Morrison County attorney's office. Wetzel said he anticipates formal criminal charges being filed Thursday.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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