BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Update (9/10): The mother charged in connection to the death of her 18-month-old son has had her charges upgraded to capital murder.
Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon confirmed the charges against Samantha McCormack.
McCormack’s boyfriend, Robert Elmore Jr. had his charges upgraded to capital murder Monday night.
No other information has been released. Stay with CBS 42 as this is an ongoing story.
Original (9/9): A Blount County mother and her fiancé are facing upgraded charges in the death of her 18 month-old baby.
Sheriff Mark Moon confirmed that Enzo McCormack was pronounced dead just before 6 p.m. Monday evening.
Robert Elmore Jr. is facing a capital murder charge, while the toddler’s mother, Samantha McCormack, is facing a reckless murder charge. Both are currently in the Blount County Jail.
“There is just a lengthy history between those two,” said Moon, “and you know, it’s a shame. This whole community is really shaken up by this. It’s hard on us. It’s hard on the judge, DHR, and the District Attorney. Obviously it’s hard on this child’s family.”
According to an affidavit filed on Sept. 8, investigators received a 911 call from Locust Fork Hardware from Heather Elmore, the suspect’s sister. She said that McCormack came into the store and said that Enzo had been injured in a fall at home.
McCormack initially told investigators that she was at a home in the 5000 block of County Highway when she left to go to the bathroom while her three children were eating. She claimed that she heard something fall and that when she went to check on the children that Enzo had fallen and was choking.
In the affidavit, McCormack initially claimed that she was able to clear the child’s airway but that she could tell that he still wasn’t feeling well sometime later and she decided to take him to the hospital. She reported that she stopped at Locust Fork Hardware to get gas when Heather Elmore saw the child and called 911. Investigators said that McCormack’s story later changed.
The affidavit went on to report that a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital said Enzo was “unstable, had an internal brain injury, possibly from being shake violently and probably would not survive his injuries.”
Investigators would later learn that the three children had previous been removed from McCormack’s custody last October. The affidavit states that McCormack obtained a protection from abuse order against Elmore in March, and that her children had been returned to her custody in June 2019.
“She was ordered by a judge to not let her children around that boyfriend,” Moon said. “She was specifically told that her boyfriend could not be anywhere near her children. When she received that order, she got a protection from abuse order against him. Two days later, she had it dropped.”
Investigators also learned that McCormack had lied about her current residence–and that she and Elmore were engaged and living together at the time of the alleged incident.
Ultimately, Elmore and McCormack told investigators conflicting stories. McCormack claimed that, “Elmore had been abusive toward her and that she was scared he would harm her and her children.” She also “admitted that she never called 911 because she was scared that DHR had taken her children away from her in the past.”
According to the affidavit, on Sept. 8, Elmore admitted he had picked Enzo up and that the toddler had grabbed his chest hair. Elmore reportedly became furious and he lost his temper, dropping Enzo, who hit the pack and play and then the floor. The child went non-responsive, so Elmore claimed that he picked him up and shook him. Neither Elmore or McCormack ever called 911.
Moon said that they believe the injuries were inflicted sometime after 5 p.m. on Friday but that Elmore’s sister didn’t see the child and call 911 until around 7 p.m.
“Who knows what could have happened if they would have called 911 immediately,” said Moon. “There’s no way of knowing.”
Moon said that Enzo’s body will be sent to Huntsville for an autopsy and, with the permission of his family and DHR, organ donation. The other siblings– including Enzo’s twin and another 3-year-old– are currently in the custody of DHR.