A mother was being held without bond Wednesday on a new charge of attempted felony murder with a deadly weapon following the death of her 3-year-old son.
Fafane Caze, 21, was arrested Tuesday night on charges of torture and aggravated child abuse after her son was found with signs of severe trauma and sexual abuse Tuesday morning, but Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Elena Verde increased the charges in a Wednesday hearing.
Caze was not present at the hearing.
Police said Caze's son – identified as Ghanson Debrosse in Department of Children and Families records – died at least three hours before she called 911.
When police responded to the scene, the child had several injuries on his body, North Miami Detective Alanzo Rhymer testified Wednesday.
"There were numerous, throughout his entire body, scars – buckle-shaped scars," he said. "Some were fresh, some were old."
Rhymer said he also saw burn marks on the child's face, genitals and fingers. He said Caze admitted to burning her son as a form of punishment in a statement to police that was recorded on video.
"As far as the burn marks, she told me that the victim would pee on the floor. So as a lesson to the victim, she would grab him and basically use a lighter and burn the inside of his legs and his penis," Rhymer testified.
In the moments before the child's death, said Rhymer, Caze admitted to beating the boy with the handle of an aluminum broom. She then grabbed him by the hand and flung him across the room where he hit his head against the corner of a wooden table, according to Rhymer.
Caze told police the child gasped for air and asked for water, but when she tried to give him some, he couldn't drink it. She told police she attempted CPR and called 911 shortly after, according to Rhymer.
The boy was taken to Jackson North Hospital from his home at 12501 Northeast 13th Ave. and was later pronounced dead, according to police. Rhymer said the emergency room doctor who attended the boy said his core temperature was indicative of someone who had been dead for three to four hours.
Rhymer said the mother told detectives she did not suffer from or take medication for mental illness during her recorded statement.
Detectives described Caze as cold when she was taken into custody Tuesday, and said she originally told them her son was hurt in Haiti two weeks ago before she made a full confession, police said.
The Department of Children and Families also interviewed Caze. In addition, detectives questioned one of Caze's other children, police said.
According to North Miami Police Spokesman Maj. Neal Cuevas, the mother also has a 1-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. The mother told detectives the 3-year-old was injured and abused in Haiti, where his father lives, Cuevas said.
"The mother is claiming that the abuse occurred in Haiti, although some signs of trauma appear to be fresh and the father is also in Haiti. These are the claims the mother is making," Cuevas said Tuesday.
Cuevas said the girl also showed signs of abuse, but the 1-year-old did not. The 1-year-old was found with friends of the mother's, and once police found him, the people were not cooperative with them.
The investigation is ongoing, Cuevas said.
DCF said it has a history with the family, and it is working with authorities on the case. The two other children are in DCF custody, and there will be a hearing on Wednesday for them.
"Just listening to the description of the injuries provided by the detectives, it was and still is very disturbing to think that a 3-year-old or any child would have suffered at the mother's hands the kind of injuries that were described in this particular case," Cuevas said.
In 2010 Caze was arrested on a domestic battery charge involving the then-infant's father, DCF records show. In its intake report, DCF noted, “It was alleged that during their argument, the mother was holding Ghanson and attacked the father by throwing things at him. It's alleged the mother attempted to throw the infant at the father. The baby was not injured.”
The report also said, “There are concerns about the mother’s behavior as she is very violent and recently punched a mirror and broke it with her hand.”