LIMA — The man charged with murder in the death of a 17-month-old child told a 911 operator he awakened to find the baby dead.
“He choked on his own vomit,” Christopher Clayton told a 911 operator. “We think he suffocated on his own vomit.”
Clayton, 20, made the statement Friday afternoon when he placed a call to 911 reporting the child’s death. His story does not match findings from the autopsy of the child, Xavier Wurth, which showed the child died of blunt force trauma to the back of his head.
Clayton, who is from St. Marys, had been living with the child’s mother, Alexis Long, 20, for less than a year at her home at 229 Wurster St., in Spencerville. He made his first court appearance Tuesday at a hearing at Lima Municipal Court where Judge Tammie Hursh set his bail at $5 million. Hursh also assigned a preliminary hearing for Jan. 28.
A prosecutor asked for the higher bail due to Clayton’s age and the fact he is on suicide watch inside the Allen County jail.
Clayton had little to say other than to answer a couple of basic questions from Hursh on whether he understood his rights. He declined to make a statement.
In the 911 call he was cooperative while calmly reporting the child’s death. A woman in the background, likely the child’s mother, can be heard screaming and crying.
“We just woke up and I think our baby’s dead,” he said.
The 911 operator explains to him how to begin CPR.
Clayton tells the operator he was watching the child.
“I put him to bed around 8 last night,” Clayton said in the call placed at 11:57 a.m. Friday.
He tells the operator he is the boyfriend to the child’s mother and tells the operator his full name. Clayton is not the child’s father.
Spencerville Police Chief Darin Cook said it was evident when an officer arrived that foul play was involved in the child’s death. Cook called the Sheriff’s Office to bring in detectives and crime scene investigators to handle the case because his agency is small and does not have a detective bureau.
Xavier’s body was found in an upstairs hallway with clear signs of visible trauma, Cook said.