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Mother and boyfriend charged in death of 3-year-old Tippecanoe County boy

An autopsy found the child died from blunt force traumatic injuries.
Credit: Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department
Crystal Cox and Jermaine Garnes

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. — A Tippecanoe County mother and her boyfriend are charged in the July 2021 death of her 3-year-old son.

Police were called on July 5 about a child not breathing. When they arrived, they found 3-year-old Zeus Cox on a bedroom floor and officers noticed bruising on his body.

Zeus' mother Crystal Cox and boyfriend Jermaine Garnes told officers the boy had been sick. They said they had given him medicine and let him sleep in their bed that night.

To explain the bruising, Garnes said the boy had fallen in the backyard, fallen off a bike and that there would be marks from the belt he used to spank Zeus with. Cox claimed the boy's bruising came from running into a table.

A witness told police that when he spoke with Garnes after the child's death and asked if Garnes had killed the boy, "Garnes ended up making a comment to the effect that he thought he did."

Another witness told police that when they spoke with Cox after the boy's death, "the female said Jermaine killed him."

According to court documents, Garnes' son told them he witnessed his father beating Zeus the day before his death and the beating took place in front of Cox.

An autopsy found the 3-year-old had a lacerated kidney, small intestine ruptures, rib fractures and internal bleeding. The cause of death was blunt force traumatic injuries.

Cox and Garnes are facing charges of murder, neglect of a dependent and battery.

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