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Police probe death of 15-week-old boy at homeless shelter

Father in jail, charged with assaulting an officer at scene

Police are investigating the death of a 15-week-old boy pronounced dead early Thursday at the St Vincent de Paul’s Women and Family Shelter in Dayton.

The infant, Jeremiah Hammond, and his twin sister, who has not been identified, were at the shelter with their parents, according to Kevin Lavoie, communications coordinator for Montgomery County Department of Job & Family Services. The sister’s condition was unclear, but authorities said she was OK.

Police said they were conducting a “suspicious death investigation,” but provided no further details.

“Dayton police detectives are in the early stages of investigating this case which includes conducting interviews, speaking to witnesses and analyzing evidence,” Cara Zinski-Neace, public information officer for the Dayton Police Department, said in a statement.

Shelter employees called 9-1-1 on Thursday morning and reported two infants had died.

“They just woke up, getting up, they said they woke up and said the babies had passed,” a worker said.

An ambulance arrived around 5:35 a.m. Jeremiah was pronounced dead at 5:42 a.m.

Police said there was no visible trauma to the dead infant.

Few other details were available on the incident or the infant, born on May 17. He underwent an autopsy Thursday, but no further information was available from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Police said they were conducting a “suspicious death investigation,” but provided no further details.

St. Vincent de Paul would not respond to questions about the shelter’s policies, but released a statement.

“The entire St. Vincent de Paul organization is deeply saddened by the death of an infant guest this morning at our Women and Family Shelter,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and everyone who has been impacted by this tragedy. While we cannot comment on the specifics of the situation, we will cooperate fully with the police as they investigate,” St. Vincent de Paul said in a statement.

The twins’ father, Patrick Wilkerson, 23, was in custody, charged with assaulting a police officer at the scene during the investigation.

The mother, Nakela McGhee, reported on Sept. 11, 2015 while apparently pregnant with the twins reported being assaulted by Wilkerso, according to police reports. McGhee has a third child who was not at the shelter Thursday, according to Lavoie.

McGhee, 20 at the time, was interviewed by police at Grandview Hospital. She told police Wilkerson beat her unconscious and threw her through a glass-topped coffee table in an apartment they shared with his brother on Siebenthaler Avenue.

McGhee told police she was ending her relationship with Wilkerson as a result of the incident and moving in with her mother, according to the report.

McGhee said she had been dating Wilkerson since March and was pregnant with his child, according to the report.

On Thursday, Wilkerson was arrested at 6:51 a.m. by officers detaining him outside the shelter at 120 W. Apple Street. He is charged with assault on a police officer, misconduct at an emergency, obstructing official business, resisting arrest and failing to appear on a theft charge.

He remained in the county jail, pending arraignment at 1:45 p.m. Friday in Dayton Municipal Court.

Wilkerson, “a parent of deceased responsible for the deceased care,” was arrested after allegedly hitting an officer assigned to keep him outside and separate from the mother.

He has been charged before with assaulting a Dayton police officer. He served five years probation, ending on June 20, 2014, for punching a Dayton police officer in the face in February 2012.

A jail official said McGhee was brought to Montgomery County Jail in 2015, but was refused on medical grounds. A check of her record in Dayton and Montgomery County records showed no violations.

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