September 19, 2014

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Mother’s boyfriend arrested in 2-year-old’s death

LORAIN — Police have arrested the 21-year-old boyfriend of a Lorain woman on charges of killing the woman’s 2-year-old son.Police

Capt. Russ Cambarare said Damien Hiley, of Cleveland, was charged Thursday afternoon after he was interviewed by detectives at the police station about the injuries that led to the death of Nicolas Shaw of Pin Oak Drive.

Nicolas died from multiple blunt force injuries to his head and chest early Tuesday at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller said.

The death has been ruled a homicide, as the injuries are consistent with child abuse, he said.

Cambarare would not comment on what Hiley said during the interview, only saying that Hiley was remorseful when speaking with officers.

“He was always a suspect,” Cambarare said.

Police do not believe Hiley and the toddler’s mother, 23-year-old Candice Shaw, were living together, and there were no details available about the nature of their relationship. Neighbors who lived near Shaw at the Pin Oak Apartment complex said she was a private woman who kept to herself.

Shaw’s family has declined to comment.

Hiley is being held in Lorain County Jail.

Hiley was baby-sitting Nicolas while his mother was at work when the boy’s injuries occurred, Cambarare said. He would not say what took place before Hiley and Shaw rushed Nicolas to St. John West Shore Hospital in Westlake on Monday morning. Doctors there had him transported to the Cleveland hospital.

Once at the Cleveland hospital, it was determined his injuries likely were caused by child abuse, and hospital staff contacted Lorain County Children Services. Cambarare said detectives were notified about the case about 5:30 p.m. Monday by a Children Services caseworker.

Patti-Jo Burtnett, Children Services spokeswoman, said the agency had no contact with the family before this week.

Nicolas’ death came as a shock to teachers and staff at the Horizon Activities Center on Colorado Road, where he attended day care classes for less than a month.

“He was a sweet little boy — very friendly, outgoing, and everyone loved him,” said Louise Reuter, center director. “Our staff is having a really hard time dealing with all this.”

Reuter said Nicolas was always smiling and happy when his mother dropped him off each morning. There was nothing about their interactions to suggest he was abused, she said.

“We never suspected anything and had no reason to think something like that,” she said.

Hiley does not have a criminal record, court records in Lorain and Cuyahoga counties show.

Nicolas is the second young child from Lorain to die this year as the victim of child abuse.

Jayden Davidson, an 8-month-old boy, died from severe head and brain injuries police suspect occurred while a family friend was baby-sitting him on the morning of June 26.

Kevin Kimbrough, 24, is charged with aggravated murder in the case and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.