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Mother, boyfriend arrested after baby covered in bruises dies on life support

An autopsy conducted the next day found that the baby had acute rib fracture, severe brain and eye hemorrhaging, and multiple bruises.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A mother and her boyfriend have been arrested and charged with the death of a four-month-old child in Richland County.

According to the Richland County Sheriff's Department, deputies were called to an area hospital on Sept. 6 after the baby was brought and was unresponsive. Deputies noticed bruises on the baby's body, including the back, arms, legs, and ears.

The sheriff's department said the baby was placed on life support but was pronounced brain dead two days later on Sept. 8.

An autopsy conducted the next day found that the baby had acute rib fracture and severe brain and eye hemorrhaging along with the multiple bruises already found by deputies and medical professionals.

The mother claimed that her boyfriend had been watching the child and that he woke up to find the baby unresponsive. She said he then called emergency medical services.

Further investigation found that the small child also had injuries from a previous incident that happened days earlier. Despite this, investigators said the child's mother didn't seek medical treatment for the baby at that time.

With these findings in mind, 27-year-old Cassandra Clautu and her boyfriend, 34-year-old Philip Coker, were arrested and charged in connection with the death. Clautu was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. Coker was arrested the same day and charged with homicide by child abuse. Both have since been booked into Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

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