Babysitter's Frustration Leads to Toddler's Death, Puppy Falsely Accused

Babysitter’s Frustration Leads to Toddler’s Death, Puppy Falsely Accused

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in Florida on suspicion of killing the 23-month-old son of his girlfriend, beating him to death while watching him, and then attempting to place the blame for the boy’s fatal injuries on the couple’s dog.

Authorities said that Bobby Frank Curry Jr. was arrested last week and charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated child abuse in connection with the horrific death of toddler Ezekiel Cotto-Saintfleur.

Chief Sam Taylor of the Lakeland Police Department stated on Monday that he felt Curry was unskilled in handling youngsters and became irritated with the victim.

“I will tell you I suspect that (Curry) was overwhelmed. He was probably unused to babysitting a 23-month-old,” Taylor stated. “I believe that he was frustrated.”

The chief added that Curry delayed getting Ezekiel medical assistance for more than two hours.

“It’s unconscionable and unfathomable for almost two-and-a-half hours to go by from the first signs Ezekiel was injured until Mr. Curry decided to notify 911,” Taylor stated.

Authorities said that on March 5, at approximately 5:25 p.m., they were called to a residence on Kansas Avenue in Lakeland in reference to a youngster who was not responding. First responders said that they discovered Ezekiel laying on the restroom floor when they arrived at the incident. He did not appear to be breathing and did not have a pulse.

Up until emergency medical personnel from the Lakeland Fire Department arrived and took over, police carried out life-saving treatments. For medical attention, Ezekiel was brought to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. The toddler was taken to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition due to the severity of his injuries, and he was admitted there.

On March 8, Ezekiel was pronounced deceased due to his injuries.

Curry allegedly told police that on March 5, he was watching Ezekiel while his girlfriend, the boy’s mother, was at work. After a roughly four-month courtship, Curry and the mother moved in together in February 2024.

Taylor claims that at either 2:00 or 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, Curry informed detectives that he was bathing Ezekiel because the youngster had soiled himself.

Curry claimed that as Ezekiel emerged from the bath, one of the two dogs in the house barged into the bathroom and leaped on the young child, sending him tumbling backward and hitting his head on the bathtub and the floor. The kid “tensed up,” according to him, but when he was placed on the bed, he was still breathing.

Curry claimed that he went to check on Ezekiel a little while later, at approximately 3:15 p.m., and discovered that the young child had stopped breathing. Curry started CPR, which caused Ezekiel to begin breathing again.

Before the mother ultimately advised him to phone 911, Curry and Ezekiel’s mother exchanged 67 messages on Instagram over the child’s condition between 3:15 and 5:25 p.m.

“Is it possible for a child to go into cardiac arrest,” Curry asked in one of the messages, Taylor stated.

According to investigators, the severity of Ezekiel’s injuries undermined both the timeline Curry supplied and the child’s injuries.

“We spoke to the medical doctors who treated Ezekiel at Lakeland Regional Health and at Tampa General Hospital,” Taylor stated. “They conversed with the state attorney’s office and the medical professionals that Ezekiel was without oxygen for at least 45 minutes and suffered a brain bleed.”

Ezekiel was found to have died from blunt force injuries to the top and front of his head, and homicide was the cause of death, according to a later autopsy.

Curry is being detained without bond at the Polk County Jail right now. On April 16, he is expected to appear in court for his arraignment.