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Police identify 2-month-old boy who died after being strangled on Christmas; parents charged

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BILLINGS, Montana — Police have identified a 2-month-old boy who died after he was beaten and strangled on Christmas Day.

Billings police on Wednesday identified the infant as Tavaris Michael Edwards, The Billings Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1zUQGRI ). Police had said they would release the boy's name after an autopsy was complete.

The boy was taken off life support Saturday at a Colorado hospital, where he was flown for treatment, after doctors said he had no brain activity.

The infant's mother, Kayla Jean Edwards, 23, has been charged with deliberate homicide, and the boy's father, Brandon Tory Edwards, has been charged with aggravated assault and assault on a minor.

Kayla Edwards is also charged with assault on a minor on suspicion of abusing the boy's twin sister, authorities said.

The two requested public defenders. The public defender's office didn't immediately return a call and email from the Associated Press seeking comment Thursday.

Police were called to the home Dec. 25 on reports that the boy was not breathing. An officer noticed the child was "very blue in color," court documents say.

At a hospital in Billings, police overheard Kayla Edwards talking on her cellphone, saying, "it stopped breathing," referring to her son, the documents say.

She initially denied hurting the boy but later acknowledged she hit and strangled him because he had been crying, police said.

Police said Brandon Edwards told them he saw her do it and did not try to intervene.

The mother also told investigators she had abused both children in the past. Detectives found bruises on his twin sister's head, nose and eyes. She was treated and released from the hospital, and prosecutors say she is being cared for in a safe environment.

Kayla Edwards remains in jail on $350,000 bail, while the boy's father is being held on $200,000 bail. They are scheduled to appear in Yellowstone County District Court on Monday.


Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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