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Mom and boyfriend charged after 2-year-old son found beaten and dead in hotel

Although the toddler’s death was ruled a homicide, no-one has yet been charged with his murder.
Although the toddler’s death was ruled a homicide, no-one has yet been charged with his murder. Orange County Jail and Facebook

Merissa Anderson, 23, of Orlando, Fla. was living at the Countryside Inn and Suites hotel in Orange County with her boyfriend, Jonathan Charapata, and her three children. According to a June 7 report from The Orlando Sentinel, when Anderson left her children with her boyfriend on Monday morning to go to work, her two-year-old son Justin Polk was sleeping soundly.

Because Charapata was unemployed, he usually watched the kids while Anderson was at work. Less than 30 minutes after Anderson left the hotel room, “Orange County deputies responded to a 911 call from someone at the Lee Road hotel reporting an unconscious child.” Deputies responding to the 911 call found Justin badly bruised and not breathing. He was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later.

Anderson informed investigators that Charapata, the man she’d been seeing for about six months, was a father figure to her kids. Anderson said that her two-year-old son Justin called Charapata "Daddy Jon."

Currently, Anderson is pregnant with Charapata’s baby. And now, Anderson and Charapata are both looking at charges of child abuse.

Anderson was arrested and booked into Orange County Jail yesterday with an $80,000 bond. The young mom was charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse and two counts of child neglect. Charapata, 26, was also arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of child abuse. The father figure appeared in an Orange County courtroom on June 8 where the judge set his bail at $100.000.

Although Justin’s death was ruled a homicide two days after the toddler died, no-one has yet been charged with his murder.

"If Jonathan did something he needs to go to jail," Anderson told investigators earlier in the week. "He should have watched my children better. I trusted him to take care of my children."

Upon further investigation, officials found that that Anderson’s two living children, a one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, both displayed signs of child abuse. Injuries were both old and new and included “multiple rib fractures on the boy and bruises on the girl's face and chest.” Click Orlando shared that the children also had bite marks and that their immunization shots were outdated.

Anderson said that Justin was coloring pictures on Sunday night before he went to sleep. She told police she gave the kids baths and that Justin got to sleep around 11:30 p.m.

Justin’s brother and sister were turned over to the Department of Children and Families on Wednesday. On June 4, following the death of her son, Anderson posted to her Facebook page “My baby was my world my angel my everything i love you baby boy mommy will find out exactly what happened to you.”