On Jan. 6, Dominique Smith arrived home from work to find her toddler son severely injured. The baby died a few days later. Her 28-year-old boyfriend, Dantis Porter, was charged with first-degree murder after an autopsy found that the boy died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The baby had been beaten so severely that his skull broke apart in the medical examiner’s hand during his autopsy.
Why would someone hurt a baby like that? Porter allegedly beat Johnny because he wouldn’t stop crying.
This awful story isn’t unique. Toddler Johnny Kimble won’t be the last child to die at the hands of a mother’s boyfriend. What’s different about this story is the fact that Smith has now been charged with felony child endangerment. According to prosecutors, she let Porter babysit Johnny and her other three children despite finding a number of burns on the baby’s body.
Smith reportedly admitted to officers that she didn’t take her baby to the hospital for the burns because she didn’t want him taken away from her. She has been ordered to not have contact with her surviving children or any other children.
There’s no silver lining to Johnny Kimble’s brutal death. The most anyone can hope for is that his mother’s prosecution serves as a reminder that the death could have been prevented. Moms have a responsibility to protect their children from abuse. It’s unforgivable that Smith allowed her innocent baby to remain in the care of someone who repeatedly burned him. It’s horrific to imagine a mother knowingly allowing a child to be abused by a partner, but it isn’t uncommon.
Kids living in a home with unrelated adults are twice as likely to die from abuse than kids living with biological parents. Does this mean every single mom is putting her kids at risk? No. But it does mean that mothers and other relatives need to be aware of the greater risks involved when a child is exposed to a live-in boyfriend.
Sadly, there were many opportunities for Johnny Kimble to escape abuse. But the adults in his life failed him. His great-aunt also saw injuries on the baby but did not report them to authorities. If you suspect child abuse, never hesitate to reach out to a child abuse hotline.