Jayceon Chrystie was a four-month-old boy described by his family as a happy and healthy baby. But little Jayceon was taken off a life support machine on Saturday night, two days after he was beaten by his father. According to police, Jayceon was severely beaten by his dad in what police in Radcliff, Kentucky, called one if the most horrifying and unbelievable cases of child abuse they have ever seen.
"We have a witness advising that they saw him beating the child while he was driving down the road," Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross told The Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper.
That witness, Dena Stevenson, described driving down South Dixie Highway in Kentucky for a stretch of about seven miles, watching another driver apparently striking something in the passenger seat with his hand.
As soon as Stevenson and her husband realized that the victim of the driver's blows was an infant in a car seat, they immediately called police.
"He would hit the child. Turn around and bounce to his music. Twist his hat and hit the child again," Stevenson told TV station WLKY. "He was hitting hard, swinging hard and, you know … he was literally hitting the baby in his head or in his chest or something."
The witness also said that every time the man swung to hit the child, he did so with such force that his car swerved into the next lane.
Later that evening, Radcliff police received a call about a child who had become unresponsive.
"It didn't take us long to make the connection," Cross said.
Using the information about the driver's vehicle supplied by the witnesses, investigators arrested Jayceon Chrystie's own father, Daniel Cox, 35, who was initially charged with child abuse — but the charge was upgraded to murder after the baby passed away on Saturday.
Court records say that after beating the baby, Cox dumped Jayceon in the driveway of a home where Jayceon's mother lives with her parents — the baby's grandparents. Jayceon was not breathing and had no pulse when Cox dropped him in the driveway, the account says.
Photographs filed with the court showed the baby with severe swelling on his head, a swollen and blackened left eye, swelling on his right cheek and deep bruising on his back and buttocks.
"It isn't often that we have child abuse cases of this magnitude," said Cross. "It's beyond me."
In another strange case of a father abusing a baby, in early July, Milwaukee dad Joshua Viane inexplicably squeezed his three-week-old daughter so tightly that he broke her ribs, then he shoved his finger down the baby's throat, later telling police that he was acting on a strange "urge."
Police have still not determined why Daniel Cox inflicted the fatal beating on little Jayceon Chrystie, and according to media accounts, Cox appeared "shocked" when initially told by a judge that he was charged with felony child abuse.
[Images: WDRB-TV, Hardin County Detention Center]