Mother, stepfather charged with murder in toddler’s death

Jacob Wootton (L) and Alyson Stephen (R)

ELWOOD, Ind. (AP) — The mother and stepfather of an Indiana child who died three days before his second birthday now are facing murder charges.

The Herald Bulletin reports charges were recently amended against 24-year-old Alyson Stephen and 26-year-old Jacob Wootton, who were earlier charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. The charges stem from the October beating death of 23-month-old Ryder Stephen.

The Associated Press left a message Tuesday seeking comment from a lawyer for Stephen. A voicemail system for Wootton’s lawyer indicated it was full.

Ryder was pronounced brain dead a few days after being found unresponsive in his family’s home in Elwood, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis.

Authorities said Stephen told them she left her son in the care Wootton while she went to work.

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