Warnisha Davis waited up all night for the father of her son to bring home her baby.
But the father, Jermaine Marcell, who took the baby after an argument, never showed up. Instead, she got a frantic call at 8 a.m. summoning her to North Shore Medical Center.
When Davis arrived, she learned the sickening news. Her 6-month old son was dead.
Marcell Jr. choked on a lollipop his father used to quiet him.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“He didn’t have any formula or anything,” Davis said. “I hadn’t even given my baby food yet. I couldn’t believe he had given him candy.”
Nearly two months after the infant died in Northwest Miami-Dade, detectives have arrested 20-year-old Marcell on charges including kidnapping, aggravated manslaughter and child neglect with great bodily harm. His arraignment is Sept. 14.
“The arrest is long overdue,” the grieving mother said in an interview this week. “I feel a little better knowing that there’s justice for my baby.”
Davis, who lives in Northwest Miami-Dade, said she met Marcell in middle school. They were together for five years when she got pregnant. Marcell Jr. was born Dec. 16, 2017, just in time to celebrate his first Christmas.
“The best gift I could ask for,” she posted on Facebook, with a picture of her son dressed in a onesie with a reindeer on it. “Merry Christmas from me and my angel MJ.”
Davis, who is now 19, said she learned quickly to take care of her baby on her own.
“He was a very happy baby,” she said. “A very good baby.”
On June 16, she met Marcell on the beach so that he could spend some time with the baby. But the two spent the day arguing.
That night, he showed up at her home and took the baby, punching her in the mouth, police said. Davis called Miami-Dade police, who documented the incident and her swollen lip.
Officers couldn’t do much more because Marcell was the boy’s father, according to an arrest warrant filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
Marcell was homeless. He later told police that he took the boy first to his brother’s home, then to his godmother’s home. No one was home. So he took the child to a tent where he was living out outside a friend’s house.
“He had him in the grass, outside,” Davis said.
Authorities say Marcell had never cared for the boy on his own and took no diapers or food with him — and the child needed formula every four hours. At one point, the most he could do was give the child water from a hose at the home, according to the warrant.
According to police, the boy was sucking on the lollipop when Marcell fell asleep for about one minute. He awoke to the sound of the child “gasping for air.”
Marcell “attempted to take the lollipop out of the victim’s mouth but the stick broke,” Detective Ramon Iglesias wrote in the warrant.
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the infant died of accidental asphyxia on the lollipop. To prove manslaughter, prosecutors will have to show he acted with a “reckless disregard” for his son’s life in taking him without any experience in child care and giving him the lollipop.
Marcell remains in a Miami-Dade Jail. Because of the severity of the charges, he is not being allowed to post bond.
“Nothing like this would have happened if he hadn’t taken the baby,” Davis said.