KOKOMO, Ind. — A Kokomo man is facing neglect charges in connection with the 2021 death of a 10-month-old child.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 24-year-old Tyler Groleau on charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent resulting in catastrophic injury. According to the Kokomo Tribune, Tyler was being held in Michigan while he awaits extradition back to Howard County.
Tyler’s aunt, 30-year-old Nicole Groleau was arrested last year after an investigation into the death of her child, Ace Groleau. She was charged with battery with death to a person under 14 years old and two counts of battery resulting in bodily injury to a person under 14 years old. Nicole reached a plea agreement, and her sentencing is scheduled for Thursday.
At about 12:45 a.m. on April 25 of 2021, police were called to a home in the 1600 block of Rue Royal North in Kokomo for an unconscious and unresponsive baby.
Court documents state that the baby was taken to St. Vincent Hospital with bruising to the forehead, sides of face and temple area, as well as bruises under the chin and neck area that resembled fingerprints. Baby Ace was pronounced dead less than an hour after police were called.
Police interviewed Tyler, who described himself as a babysitter and said Nicole would leave him in charge of watching Ace while she worked, per court documents. Tyler told police he recently began staying with Nicole and would sleep on the couch in the den. He said Ace began to fall asleep after he swaddled the child in plush blankets and rested his head on some clothing so he wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions — which was their normal sleeping arrangement, per documents.
Tyler said he was woken up by the sound of Ace gurgling and struggling to breathe. He recalled that he first called Nicole, who didn’t answer, and then called Nicole’s boyfriend at the time and told him to call 911.
Police said Tyler claimed that about three weeks prior when Ace would not stop crying, Nicole shook him to sleep. He said since then, Ace would cry more than usual and “seize up” once in a while. Tyler also told police that a 7-year-old relative was walking with Ace by hands and fell, hitting his head. Tyler claimed this was how Ace received the bruises on his head, court records show.
About an hour and a half after the baby’s death, police obtained a warrant and searched the home. Police said they found several drug paraphernalia items in the den area, including a glass smoking device with burnt residue — commonly known as a “meth pipe” — on the couch and a clear, plastic bag containing possible drug residue under a cushion. Officers also found a handmade aluminum foil smoking device and wrapper that contained burnt residue near the couch and two wet, miniature, zip-lock plastic baggies in the kitchen trash can, according to police.
Court documents state that Tyler admitted the foil wrapper, foil smoking device and plastic bag under the cushion were his, and he used them to store and smoke marijuana. He denied ownership of the glass “meth pipe.”
On April 26 of 2021, an autopsy on Ace was performed and showed that he had “a right subdural hemorrhage, a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a subgaleal hemorrhage, a subscapular hemorrhage, and contusions of the head, face, neck and chest,” as well as “left conjunctival and facial petechiae,” court records state.
A few days later, investigators interviewed Tyler again. Police said he immediately spoke about Nicole using “a detox” to pass her drug test and said he had a video of such. When investigators asked Tyler about his previous claim that Nicole shook Ace until he stopped crying, he said Nicole told him this and his brother witnessed it, per court documents. Tyler also claimed Ace was acting “fuzzy” and unlike his typical self the day before and night of his death.
Charges were filed against Tyler on September 9 of 2022.