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Suspect in boy's death still in jail: Judge OKs 72-hour hold; formal charges weighed

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The suspect in the death of toddler Evan Jack McCue will remain in jail several more days under a judge’s extended hold order as the county prosecutor weighs bringing formal criminal charges against him.

Thomas W. Gorski, the 30-year-old boyfriend of the toddler’s mother, was arrested three days ago on a preliminary felony charge of child neglect leading to a death. He has been held in the Bartholomew County Jail since then as police continue to probe exactly how the 19-month-old died in the home Gorski shared with 21-year-old Rachel McCue, the boy’s mother.

On Friday, Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen R. Heimann signed a motion by Prosecutor Bill Nash to place an additional 72-hour hold on Gorski — a development that will keep him in county jail without bond for the time being.

Preliminary autopsy results indicated a head injury caused Evan McCue’s death, police have said. Authorities are also waiting for the results of toxicology tests done on the toddler’s body during a Tuesday autopsy.

“This is still being investigated as a top priority case. Multiple detectives are working around the clock on it. The 72-hour hold granted today by Judge Heimann gives us additional time to get our case information to the prosecutor’s office and continue following up leads,” Columbus police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said Friday.

“One of our main priorities throughout this investigation has been — and will be — thoroughness. Also, we know the family and community want answers now regarding this incident. With time, hopefully all their questions will be answered.” Myers said.

Gorski, according to postings on his Facebook account, is a 2000 Columbus North High School graduate who took community college classes in recent years while working a variety of fast-food jobs, most recently at a pizza chain.

A 72-hour hold, which doesn’t count weekend hours, means Gorski will stay in the county jail until at least Wednesday morning while the prosecutor considers drafting a probable-cause affidavit. A felony charge of child neglect leading to a death would carry a prison term of anywhere from 20 to 50 years.

Evan McCue was pronounced dead at Columbus Regional Hospital Sunday night after his mother called 911 and reported her son wasn’t breathing, police said.

Myers said Gorski and Rachel McCue were the only two adults in the home in the 2800 block of Lamplight Drive when a patrolman arrived at 8:24 p.m. Sunday — roughly three minutes after the mother’s call for medical help.

Patrolman Toby Combest — followed by paramedics — tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the child, a police log of the night’s events show. After roughly 20 minutes, the toddler was taken by ambulance to the hospital, arriving there at 8:49 p.m., police said.

Rachel McCue told police she placed a 911 call after finding the boy lifeless and not breathing when she entered a room where she believed he had been sleeping, Myers said.

When Combest arrived, the toddler had been carried into the living room of the couple’s home, Myers said. That’s where Combest, followed quickly by paramedics, tried to revive him.

The boy’s death has left family members deep in grief, including the child’s grandparents, Robin and William McCue of Columbus. They had filed a petition in county court in early October, seeking guardianship or third-party custody of the child.

A hearing on that plea was scheduled for Dec. 21. The McCue grandparents have not spoken publicly about their attempts to win custody of the boy.

The 19-month-old will be buried in Garland Brook Cemetery on Monday after a funeral service at Flintwood Wesleyan Church.

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