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Father, Child Found Dead

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FAYETTEVILLE — A father and child apparently traveled from New York to visit relatives in Fayetteville. The child's aunt and uncle discovered both bodies in front of their house early Saturday.

The father allegedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, so now Sheriff's Department Investigators say the one piece of information they need is the autopsy report on the infant.

30-year-old Sherman Wayne Peterson and his 10-month-old son Brandon Barkman were reported missing after leaving the child's mother's home in New York early Friday morning.

By the time they were found the child had died and was wrapped in a blanket in the front yard of his aunt and uncle's Fayetteville home. The father found dead in his car in front of the house.

"The child was just laying out in the yard, it was not concealed," Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler said. "Mr. Arnold saw the child as he stood up, and looked out. He was going to do some yard work this morning. He walked out on the porch, happened to look out and noticed the child. He thought it was a babydoll to start with."

The uncle, Daniel Arnold, performed CPR on the child. Officials could not find any signs of trauma that may have caused his death.

Because there was no obvious cause of death, officials are speculating that 10 month old Brandon Barkman may have died of natural causes. They will have to wait for the autopsy results, which are expected to be released early next week.

The child's parents may have had some domestic problems in New York, but so far relatives just don't know what happened.

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Landra Booker, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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