DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - The man suspected of killing a 3-year-old boy by beating him to death has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
Sterling Kyle Andersen, 23, of Duluth, appeared Monday in Becker County District Court, where bail was set at $1 million with conditions or $2 million without conditions.
Documents released by the court include autopsy information that indicates the child, Steven Warren of Ogema, had head and extensive abdominal injuries with more than 26 fresh bruises to the boy’s stomach and several other bruises and abrasions to his head.
The medical examiner concluded that the child’s cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to assault.
Andersen, who was dating the boy’s mother, was the only person with the child from 10:30 a.m. Oct. 7, until the 911 call was made just after noon for a “child that had bumped its head.”
According to court documents, Andersen told ambulance personnel that he had taken the child for a walk in the woods about 10:30 a.m., and that the child had been chasing after a dog and running downhill. Andersen said the child had turned to look back and then tripped and fell into a log.
He said the child cried, so he took him back home and put him down in the bed. He then said he checked on the child less than 10 minutes later and found him unresponsive before carrying him to a neighbor’s house, where the neighbor called 911.
Medical personnel noted that the injuries were inconsistent with Andersen’s story, and after police interviewed him, Andersen reportedly confessed to striking the child because he would not stop crying, but stated he did not know how many times he struck him.
According to the report, Andersen told police, “I just lost control.”
The child was transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary in Detroit Lakes, then transferred to Sanford Health in Fargo, where he died about 4:15 p.m.
Both charges, which include second degree murder and second degree murder without intent, carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if found guilty.