3-year-old boy died of asphyxiation
NEW ORLEANS — A Marrero man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son earlier this week planned to set fire to their home while she and the child were inside, authorities said Friday.
Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, said Timothy Reed, 34, of Marrero, killed Desmond Brown, 3, and then planned to burn the boy and his 34-year-old mother, Lakeisha Brown, inside their home on Rue Racine Drive in Marrero.
Reed has been booked with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and attempted arson. He remains in custody at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.
Desmond was found dead beneath a pile of dirty clothes by his mother Wednesday when she was preparing to wash clothes, authorities have said.
Fortunato said the mother told police that she last time saw her son alive he was with Reed on Mardi Gras. An autopsy of the boy showed that he died from “homicidal asphyxiation,” and Fortunato has said authorities believe he was strangled or suffocated.
Reed was arrested hiding in a hotel bathroom in eastern New Orleans by officials with the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Taskforce. Fortunato said that during questioning, Reed made statements that implicated him in Brown’s death, but authorities do not believe they were completely truthful.
Fortunato would not answer questions about whether Reed claimed the boy’s death was accidental. The Coroner’s Office has already said they believe the boy was intentionally killed.
Lakeisha Brown made a frantic call to police Wednesday when she found his body on the floor. However, when Brown tried to exit the home, she initially could not because an iron security gate was locked, and the key was missing, authorities have said.
Brown had to eventually climb out of window to meet deputies.
Fortunato said it appears that was part of Reed’s plan — to burn the woman alive to hide the death of the child. Deputies who arrived on the scene found a strong odor of gasoline in the home, and gasoline cans were found around the building, he said.
Fortunato said the investigation has always centered on Reed, who has prior arrests on counts of first-degree murder, aggravated rape of two juveniles, domestic abuse and child abuse. He said there is no current evidence that the Brown case involved any sort of sexual abuse. Fortunato also could not comment on any prior convictions for Reed.
Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorney Margaret Hay said the aggravated rape and child abuse charges against Reed were refused becuase of “insufficient evidence.” The first-degree murder charge was handled by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, and Reed eventually pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in the crime. Hay said that in that case Reed was accused along with his brother. She noted that Reed was wanted for domestic abuse at the time of Brown’s death, and has been booked with those charges as well.