Deputy sent to home last year
A cousin who contacted law enforcement twice about the welfare of the children of a couple arrested last week in the murder of their 8-year-old son told authorities last year a court order was in place that forbade the children from being left alone with their father, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office documents said.
Ronteisha Hatter, 30, also told authorities the children’s father, Michael Robertson, 46, was dangerous and was not a suitable parent, the documents said.
The deputy who responded to the July 30 call about the children being left alone with their father did not find them to be in danger at the time, the documents said. The deputy reported finding them in “good health and spirits” when he visited the children and Robertson at 8231 Skysail Ave.
One of the children was Xzayvion Riley, who died June 12 from complications he suffered after being hit in the stomach.
The deputy asked Hatter if she had a copy of the court order prohibiting Robertson from being home alone with his children, the documents said.
Hatter replied she did not and she had only heard of the order from the children’s mother, Lavaughn Riley, 32.
He then told Hatter to call back if she had any additional information to report.
Hatter told the deputy as long as the children were all right and safe, that was all she wanted to know, the documents said.
When asked if the deputy tried to verify the existence of a court order, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said such an order can only be checked by contacting, during business hours, the court that issued the order.
Hatter’s call was made after hours on the weekend, Hicks said, adding, “There would have been no way for the deputy to verify what the cousin stated she heard third-hand.”
District Attorney Hillar Moore III said juvenile court judges issue such orders and the orders are not open to the public.
A message left with Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen S. Richey was not returned as of late Tuesday and Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson was unavailable for comment.
A spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, Trey Williams, confirmed Friday the agency “had an open and active case” with Xzayvion’s family, but said Tuesday he could not comment on whether there were any court orders related to the case.
“DCFS can only provide summary information in fatality cases when it is medically determined by an examining physician to be a factor in the cause of death,” Williams said. “Your question is more case specific and therefore we cannot answer your question.”
Hatter, who contacted authorities again in September about the children, then ages 10, 7 and 3, being left home alone, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Several phone numbers listed under her name were disconnected.
Meanwhile, a judge on Tuesday denied bail for Riley, who was booked into Parish Prison last week on a count of first-degree murder in the death of her son.
“The court is not setting any bail at this time,’’ state District Judge Trudy White told Riley, during an initial bail hearing conducted via video conference.
White was in a small room in the bail bond office at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse, while Riley was at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison during the brief early-morning hearing.
White used the same procedure Monday to deny bail for Robertson, who also was booked Friday on first-degree murder.
Robertson and Riley each were initially booked on a count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile following the death of their son June 12, but the counts were changed to first-degree murder Friday after parish Coroner Beau Clark deemed Xzayvion’s death a homicide.
Preliminary results of an autopsy performed Friday show the boy died of “overwhelming infection,’’ caused by a ruptured bowel, Clark said.
The ruptured bowel was caused by blunt force trauma to Xzayvion’s abdomen, he said.
The autopsy also showed 60 external signs of recent and old trauma, including abrasions, bruises and a human bite mark, the coroner said.
Riley admitted to sheriff’s deputies she beat her son and caused bruises on his back, shoulder blade and buttocks, an affidavit of probable cause said.
She also said Robertson beat the child and caused the bruises and scratches on the boy’s neck, Hicks said.
Robertson denied any involvement in his son’s injuries, Hicks said.
The victim’s 10-year-old sibling told deputies that Robertson beat the child with his fist from noon June 11 until that evening, the affidavit said.