Autopsy finds evidence Raleigh toddler had been beaten, cut, burned
Posted March 2, 2016
Updated March 4, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.