STOCKTON -- The mother of the two-year-old boy at the center of a suspicious death turned homicide investigation said her son was in her boyfriend's care when he was somehow injured.
"A'rmani had bruises on his face and on his neck, and the hospital said he had bruises on his back," the boy's mother Bianca said to FOX40 over the phone.
Bianca did not want her last name or photo to be included in the story, because she feared members of the community might retaliate against her for assuming she was involved in her son's death. She did, however tell FOX40 the name of her boyfriend, who she said was also the father of her younger son.
Bianca said her boyfriend was watching both of her sons last week while she was at work in the Bay Area. She said she received a call toward the end of her shift saying that her son A'rmani Edmond was not breathing properly. She said when she met her boyfriend, her son already looked like he was "gone."
"When I got in the car at Dublin BART, A'rmani was laying on my boyfriend's lap. He looked like he had already been gone for a while. I started giving him CPR, rushed him to the hospital," Bianca said.
When asked what her boyfriend said about what happened to A'rmani, he didn't explain.
"Whenever a small child is involved, that hits a lot of us hard," Stockton Police Spokesperson Joe Silva said.
Wednesday, the Stockton police department reclassified the boy's suspicious death as a homicide investigation, based on findings in an initial autopsy completed by the county coroner. Silva said he could not specify what the coroner found that led him and and detectives to believe that A'rmani was killed, but that sometimes child death investigations reveal that caretakers did not understand how to properly handle and care for children.
"Sadly, some of these cases that we do investigate, that's the problem that we're seeing, people just don't know how to be a responsible parent or guardian," Silva said.
To make things more complicated, authorities from three jurisdictions are involved in the homicide investigation. Silva said A'rmani's family originally brought him to a hospital in Pleasanton where he was pronounced dead.
Through the early stages of the Pleasanton PD’s investigation, it was believed the incident may have happened in Oakland.
Stockton police said they now believed the toddler may have died in a home on Diamond Oaks Street in Stockton.
Police added that they needed the public's help in connecting all of the dots.
"We need that piece of the puzzle that will help our detectives figure out exactly what happened," Silva said.
Police have not identified any persons of interest or suspects in the case, but did say they were continuing to interview family members.
Bianca said she talked to her boyfriend on Wednesday and that he planned on turning himself in late Wednesday night. Stockton police said they had no knowledge of this.
Bianca said she asked her boyfriend what happened but he did not give her an answer. She said she was shocked and hurt.
"He said that I would know once he turned himself in," Bianca said.
A cash reward of $10,000 is being offered for information in this case. The Stockton Police Department is encouraging citizens to call if they have information pertaining to this investigation. Callers are asked to call the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377, the Investigations Unit at (209) 937-8323, or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600. Callers can remain anonymous.