Local News

Caretaker, sex offender charged in 4-year-old's death

Posted October 19, 2009 9:50 a.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2009 9:54 a.m. EDT

— The caretaker of a 4-year-old boy and her fiancee, who is a convicted sex offender, were charged Sunday in the boy's death, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said that EMS brought the boy to emergency room at North Carolina Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem around midnight Saturday. He was accompanied by his caretaker, DebraLee Ann Matthews, 22, and her fiancee, James Columbus Morrison Jr., 36, both of 230 FieldCreek Court.

The boy had life-threatening injuries, and hospital staff called the sheriff's office to investigate. The boy died of his injuries later Sunday, deputies said.

Investigators charged Morrison with murder and Matthews with felony accessory after the fact of murder. They were placed in the Forsyth County Detention Center without bond. A court hearing was set for Nov. 11.

Authorities haven't released the boy's name or disclosed the nature of his injuries. The investigation into his death continues.

According to the state Department of Correction records, Morrison was convicted in 1999 of three counts of second-degree sexual offense with a child and two counts of second-degree rape. He spent 4½ years in prison and finished his parole in June.

Matthews does not have a prior criminal record in North Carolina, according to DOC records.