Aunt, Uncle Charged With Abuse, Manslaughter In Teen's Death

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police have charged two people in the death of their 15-year-old nephew.

Police arrested Stefanie Colon, 32, and Dion Ball Sr., 44, on Friday and charged them with child abuse resulting in death, manslaughter, assault and neglect of a minor in the January death of Hezekiah Pettiford, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Officers responding to a child abuse report on Jan. 26 found Hezekiah unresponsive. The 5-foot-3-inch teen weighed 75 pounds, “indicating severe malnutrition,” charging documents state. He died two days later, police said.

The teen’s death was ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma to the brain and his injuries were found to be “consistent with chronic child abuse,” charging documents state.

Bell and Colon told investigators that their nephew, who was autistic and suffered from ADHD, came to live with them in 2019 after his guardian died, charging documents state. They said when Hezekiah refused to sleep on Jan. 25, he "threw himself on the floor and bumped his head on a pillow,” and after he fell asleep, they couldn't wake him, leading to a 911 call, charging documents state. Their statements were inconsistent with the teen's injuries, police wrote.

Court records don’t list attorneys for Colon or Ball.