Mother's boyfriend, 21, charged with 2nd degree murder in infant's death in Bradenton

Posted at 9:41 AM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 18:28:46-04

Bradenton Police say Eric Neri, 21, has been charged in the death of his girlfriend's child.

Eric Neri is charged with second degree murder in the death of Tariah White, age 10 months.

Neri made his first court appearance at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Neri was reportedly baby-sitting his girlfriend's children, 10-month-old White, and a three-year-old, on Tuesday. Neri is not the biological father of the children.

He was the last person seen with the children before police responded to the Manatee Memorial Hospital for a reported deceased child.

The baby girl suffered several fractures to her skull, which were the direct cause of her death, according to the medical examiner.

"Up the back and up top, across the side," said Detective Lt. James Racky, who is an investigator on the case. She also suffered bruising.

At some point after White was taken to the hospital, police said Neri disappeared with the three-year-old boy. Authorities couldn't locate either for hours. Eventually, Neri dropped the child off with a relative, who quickly realized that he too was seriously injured. The relative alerted police that he'd been located and the boy was soon rushed to a local hospital.

The injuries were serious, investigators said. The three-year-old boy suffered wide-spread bruising, a skull fracture and a leg fracture. The boy is currently at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

On Wednesday, Neri turned himself in to police while they were searching for him to question him. Investigators believe he was facing increasing pressure from friends and family to turn himself in to authorities.

"He knew he couldn't run, couldn't hide," Racky said.

Detectives said Neri couldn't get his story straight and blamed the kids' injuries on everyone from the kids' mother to an accidental fall in the kitchen. Racky said

"He'd go from calm, to really upset, to crying," Racky said.

But investigators said they believe this is no accident.

Police arrested Neri on two current arrest warrants for child neglect with great harm and child abuse without great harm.

Now, Tariah White's family is preparing to bury her.

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