NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The North Miami Beach Police Department on Tuesday arrested 32-year-old Claude Alexis and 22-year-old Cierrah Raphael in the death of Raphael's 2-year-old son (pictured right).
Alexis, the live-in boyfriend of Raphael, hit her son Ezra in the back with a belt after waking up to find water running in the bathroom Thursday, according to the arrest report. Alexis called 911 after the boy vomited and became unconscious.
Ezra Raphael was transported to Jackson North Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner ruled he died from blunt force trauma.
Police charged Alexis with first-degree murder and child abuse. A judge ruled Wednesday he be held on no bond.
"I love that boy, your honor," Alexis told the judge while wearing a padded vest to keep him from harming himself. "I loved that boy."
Raphael, who was working at the time of the incident, was charged with child neglect. The judge ruled she be held on $7,500 bond.
According to police, Raphael often left her son unsupervised when she worked as a prostitute. She was working the night he died, police said.
The Department of Children and Families closed a case against Raphael in 20 days. The department issued a statement about the case, saying: "The department in Alachua County was contacted by an unnamed individual to get medical assistance for the boy. The medical treatment was unrelated to any neglect or abuse."
A woman who lives next door to Alexis said she heard a commotion late Thursday night.
"I heard some noise. I thought it was because of the Heat game going on," said the woman who asked not to be identified. "It is so heart breaking to know that something like that happened next door and maybe if I would have listened a little more -- everything goes through your mind, like maybe I should have stayed outside a little more."
"I don't know what this world is coming to," said Kevin Johnson, a neighbor. "This is getting ridiculous. It is very, very, very shocking."
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