Woman held in death of her toddler

Boyfriend also charged in fatal beating last year

April 19, 2003|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

Bail was denied yesterday for a mother arrested and charged this week in the fatal beating of her 20-month-old son in October.

Camille M. Bivins and her boyfriend, Timothy Anthony Horne, are being held on matching charges of child abuse, reckless endangerment and homicide in the death of Messiah Wright, found unconscious Oct. 10 in the couple's East Baltimore apartment.

Medical examiners determined that Messiah sustained "chronic and acute injuries," including lacerations in his large and small bowel, rupture of blood vessels in his abdomen and brain damage, according to charging documents.

Officers arrested the couple Wednesday morning as they were packing to leave town, law enforcement officials said.

Bivins, who turned 23 the day after her son died, has no criminal record. Horne, 32, has multiple convictions for distribution of pornography, armed robbery and assault.

Horne and Bivins are scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 13, said Margaret T. Burns, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.

News of the arrests brought the boy's paternal grandmother, Hattie Chambers, to tears.

"It's good news and it's sad news at the same time, but mostly it's a very big relief," Chambers said in a telephone interview. "I'd been praying for this and I just thanked the Lord."

Chambers, who raised Messiah for much of his short life at her home in Rock Hill, S.C., returned the toddler to Baltimore to live with his mother in July.

Over the next three months, the baby was subjected to frequent abuse, according to charging documents. When he died, his body was riddled with fresh and old bruises, the documents show.

On Oct. 11, when Chambers called to check on the boy, she said Horne told her Messiah had choked to death on his bottle the night before. She said she became suspicious because she had weaned the child from a bottle. She pressed police to investigate.

During their six-month investigation, police interviewed Bivins and Horne on several occasions. Both said they left Messiah with his 3-year-old brother, Princeelizah, on the night the baby was killed, then went to school, the bank, a grocery store and a fast-food restaurant before returning to their apartment in the 5600 block of Daywalt Ave. to find him struggling to breathe, according to court records.

The program distributed at his funeral contained a note from his mother: "Even though our time was cut short/ I know that you are in a better place now/ You will always be my little bundle of joy."

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