Cottrell Short

WCCO, Star Tribune

St. Bonifacius toddler's death is ruled a homicide

  • Article by: NICOLE NORFLEET
  • Star Tribune
  • April 28, 2012 - 9:47 AM

The February death of a St. Bonifacius toddler has been ruled a homicide, a result of neglect and numerous severe injuries, authorities said Friday.

Cottrell Short, who would have been 2 years old this summer, was rushed from his home late Feb. 10 to a nearby hospital, where he died the next day.

"This little boy died a horrible, horrible death," Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said at a briefing about the report by the Minnesota regional medical examiner's office.

Stanek and Minnetrista Police Chief Paul Falls declined to provide details about the case, saying the investigation continues.

The boy's mother, Shacara Foster, 27, was arrested last month and charged with felony child neglect. Information on the circumstances of her arrest was not immediately available.

She is being held without bail at the Hennepin County jail on a probation violation.

No arrests have been made for the homicide, the Sheriff's Office said.

Cottrell had various abdominal and head injuries, including a skull fracture and hemorrhages, according to the medical examiner.

He also suffered from sepsis, a severe illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, because of a burn, as well as fractures to his wrist, rib, leg, elbow and shoulder. Cuts to his head, torso and other extremities were found as well as elevated sedative medication.

"I'm very angered that so many serious injuries were inflicted on such a young child," Falls said at the briefing in Minneapolis.

Officers from his department went to Cottrell's home on Feb. 10, along with the Sheriff's Office and Ridgeview Ambulance. Falls said Friday he was unaware of any previous calls to the house.

About 11:30 that night, police were called to the home on the 3700 block of Hillview Lane regarding a medical issue involving a child. The call came from someone in the home, officials said at the time.

Cottrell was brought by ambulance to Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, where he died a short time later.

Stanek and Falls declined to provide further details about what happened that night.

They also declined to say whether new charges might be added. Stanek did say the finding that the death was a homicide changes the nature of the investigation.

"We've been working extremely hard to find out what happened to this little boy to find out who's responsible for his horrible death, and we won't rest until we have answers," he said.

The investigation is being conducted by the Minnetrista Police Department, the Sheriff's Office and the Hennepin County attorney's office.

Frank Moriarity, who lives near the house in St. Bonifacius, said he often saw children playing at a nearby park.

"I saw that little boy outside during the summer, and he seemed just fine," Moriarity said.

When he learned about the medical examiner's report, he said, "Things like that shouldn't happen."

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @stribnorfleet

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