Man held in death of boy, 6 Youth had lived with Columbia man for 2 months

August 05, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

Police charged a Columbia man with first-degree murder yesterday in the violent death of a 6-year-old boy who had been his houseguest for about two months.

Anthony Lee Crawford, 31, of the 5100 block of Brook Way is being held in the county Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bail for a child abuse charge filed Tuesday.

He will appear in court this morning for a bond hearing on the murder charge.

Police said early autopsy findings show that the child died of "blunt force trauma to the head," and that he may have been sexually abused.

Christopher Flye, the son of a friend of Mr. Crawford, also suffered bruises to the legs, back, head and abdomen, according to District Court records.

The boy's mother, Zelda Flye, of Nashville, Tenn., arrived in Ellicott City yesterday and was interviewed for at least an hour by Howard County police.

Medics rushed the boy to Howard County General Hospital Tuesday after receiving a call from Mr. Crawford that the child had stopped breathing at his home, in the Hannibal Grove Apartments in the Running Brook neighborhood.

The boy was bruised and unconscious when rescuers arrived, police said.

Rescue workers said they tried for 20 minutes to resuscitate Christopher.

Their efforts continued at the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

When first questioned, Mr. Crawford admitted that he had struck the child on Saturday, county police said.

He told officers that some of the boy's injuries resulted when Christopher hit his head on the bathtub after falling off a toilet, officers said.

Police filed the murder charge after a medical examiner's findings of the probable cause of death.

The examination also showed hemorrhaging around the eyes, an injury consistent with strangulation and suffocation, according to charging documents.

During hearings yesterday, Mr. Crawford revealed that he had been discharged from the Army for carrying the AIDS virus and acknowledged having a drinking problem.

He told District Court Commissioner John Lewis that he had no criminal record.

As he read the statement of charges against him, he shook his head and bit his lower lip. From time to time, he looked out a window to the parking lot and whispered "Damn!" Children at the Hannibal Grove Apartments yesterday described Christopher as a quiet, reserved child who liked to play baseball, but spent most of his time inside.

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