Father To Be Charged In Death Of 4-Year-Old Boy - WNCN: News, Weather

Father To Be Charged In Death Of 4-Year-Old Boy

By Diana Carag

Durham County Sheriff's deputies are seeking warrants against the father of a 4-year-old boy who was found dead inside a Hillsborough home. Authorities allege the father suffocated child.

Lt. Stan Harris spoke with NBC-17 saying the department has obtained warrants for the father, Joseph Anthony Mitchell, for one count of first degree homicide and two counts of attempted murder of his two other children, ages 10 and 13.

Emergency crews responded to a call for a child in distress at 17 Thistle Trace at the Hardscrabble Plantation in Hillsborough, near the Durham County border, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Crews found the boy inside and transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The father was found injured upstairs in the home. He was also transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries. He is currently in stable condition. Harris said the other two children suffered a few injuries, but are out of the hospital.

Authorities say once Mitchell has been released from the hospital, he will be taken in front of the Durham County Magistrate, where he will be formally charged.

In 911 calls released Wednesday, the grandfather told dispatchers they were trying to wake up the young boy and that Mitchell had locked himself in the study and wouldn't come out.

"Something is going on with my son-in-law," the caller told dispatchers.

The caller also told dispatchers the suspect had been out of work for a year. Mitchell worked as an EMT Intermediate in Durham County from July 2000 to July 2002, according to Deborah Craig Ray, a spokeswoman for Durham County.

Dispatchers are heard giving instructions on how to perform CPR on the child. The 911 caller told dispatchers they went to a neighbor's house who is a nurse, but there was no answer at the home.

Police say Mitchell's wife and the grandfather of the children were inside the home at the time of the incident.


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