Local News

Autopsy finds evidence Raleigh toddler had been beaten, cut, burned

Posted March 2, 2016
Updated March 4, 2016

Tristan Matthew Blue

— A Raleigh toddler whose remains were found in a lake in northern Wake County in late 2014 showed evidence of beating, burning and possible dismemberment, according to an autopsy report released Wednesday.

Tristan Matthew Blue, 2, disappeared from a southwest Raleigh apartment on Christmas Eve 2014, prompting an Amber Alert. His parents were charged with his death the following day.

Investigators found some remains in Beaver Dam Lake, near Falls Lake, a few days later, and DNA confirmed they belonged to Tristan.

"There was evidence of fragmentation with blunt and sharp force trauma and thermal burns," the medical examiner wrote in the autopsy report.

The boy's skull was fractured, the skin on his left arm had been cut through and his feet showed "extensive fragmentation with exposed tendons, fractured bones and irregular defects," according to the autopsy. Burns were noted on his skull, feet and fingers of his right hand.

"The condition and disposal of the remains indicate a homicidal intent," the medical examiner wrote, but no cause of death could be determined because of the condition of the remains.

A separate investigative report by the medical examiner's office cites a police report that says Tristan was smothered with a pillow at home, and his body was later set ablaze, doused with acid and dismembered before being dumped in the lake.

Tristan's father, Steven Daniel Blue, 32, is charged with murder in his death.

The boy's mother, Briana Loriel Dangerfield, 26, is charged with child abuse, accessory after the fact of murder, altering or destroying evidence and failing to notify law enforcement of his death. Warrants state that she knew Blue killed the toddler and helped get rid of the body.


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  • Geneva Smith Mar 3, 2016
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    What would be the point of protesting when the suspects is in custody. I'm sure the buffet slayer thinks like others do and shakes his head in disbelief of the senseless slaying of a child. What would be the point of protesting in the streets when the killers were apprehended. Criminals are not listening to protests for them to stop crimes, the parents /community needs to catch the kids that will go towards those behaviors at a early age.
    Just like there will always be poor people so will there be criminals that think they are entitled to somebody's else hard work or enjoy the suffering of others.

  • Geneva Smith Mar 3, 2016
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    You don't protest when the suspects has been arrested, why would you? duh

    What they did to this child is horrific, its very unfortunate no other family members helped him. I surely hope they are not planning to support these monsters!!!

  • Mary Meadows Mar 2, 2016
    user avatar

    My heart breaks thinking of the suffering this sweet looking little boy suffered. Both adults need to be severely punished. I think that the death penalty for the father/boyfriend is appropriate as he killed him. The mother needs to stay in prison until she dies.

    How long did this go on? Were there no other family members/neighbors/friends who could have put this horrific abuse to a stop?

  • Sonja Yagel Mar 2, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Yes, Mike I tried to use the same word and it is too naughty to appear on the scene. Really!!!!!!!!

  • Sonja Yagel Mar 2, 2016
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    Where are the protesters. Rev Barber on this heinous crime? There could never be a more innocent victim than this little boy. Where is the black community protesting this monster who tortured and killed this little boy?

  • Brenda Blackman Mar 2, 2016
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    They both should get the death penalty. After reading what they did to this boy made me cry it was worse than what we had heard happen to him. The horror goes past what my mind could think what they did to this baby! Make it a quick trial. The mother is just as guilty as the father. She more than likely did some of the abuse herself but will blame it all on the father to save herself. All that violence in his short little life. Rest in peace Tristan. God is their final judge.

  • Lauren Little Mar 2, 2016
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    They both deserve life without parole. I'm a death penalty supporter but I'd rather they suffer in prison than give them the easy way out. Rest in peace sweet little boy. It was so wrong what happened to you. I'm comforted knowing you will endure no more suffering.

  • Beth Spears Mar 2, 2016
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    As I sat at the lake the day after where they found you Tristan I mourned for like I knew you. I ask God why although I know you aren't suppose to. I'll never understand how anyone could hurt you sweet boy. No one will ever hurt you again. You are back where you will only have peace and love and lots of smiles. Rip in Peace Tristan. I still keep you as my background picture on my computer so that you are always in my thoughts. Sweet baby boy!!!

  • Anne Havisham Mar 2, 2016
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    I can not fathom what excuse or reason ANYone could provide for doing such a thing.

  • Mike Smith Mar 2, 2016
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    I know this is just a knee-j3rk reaction (can you believe the censors here?), based on incomplete information.

    But here it is: drawing and quartering would be too good for these two.