A Sandstone family is preparing to take their 3-year-old off life support after he suffered a savage beating, apparently at the hands of his mother's boyfriend.
Little Dante Sears suffered a skull fracture and irreversible brain damage Monday night, days before his third birthday. Jonathan Loun, 31, who was watching the child and his 7-year-old brother while their mother was working, reportedly left a note beside Dante's bloodied body, apologizing and claiming he "snapped."
Dante's life support will likely be disconnected on Saturday, according to a fundraising site set up to help the family, and his organs will be donated to help other children.
"Medically there is nothing else the doctors can do for brave little Dante," read a message on the Dante Sears/Jessie Carr page on the GiveForward donation site.
According to the site, Dante's mother, Jessica Carr, had planned to celebrate Dante's birthday with him Thursday, then disconnect life support so he could "spend the rest of his birthday up in heaven."
By waiting until Saturday, the site said, "They are hoping he can be a hero in another child's life! Dante you are an amazing little man!!"
Carr works three jobs to support her children, according to the site. She told investigators that Dante was "playing, happy" and uninjured when she tucked him into bed at 8:30 p.m. She left for work just after 10, leaving the boys in Loun's care.
"She was going to take [Dante] to the zoo on Monday for his birthday and now she won't be able to," said the note on the site, which displayed a photo of Dante, smiling up at the camera.
Just before midnight, Carr received a text from Loun: a photo of her youngest son, facedown on the floor next to his crib. The message that followed read: "I heard him whining … n this is how I find him knocked out."
She texted back, worried, but Loun replied that everything was fine.
When Carr arrived home a little after 7 a.m. Tuesday she found Dante bleeding and unconscious in his crib. Loun was gone.
A signed note left on a wall read: "He pissed on me and I snapped. I banged his head on the floor. Hes not ok … I'm done with life all I do is hurt people. … Thank you for loving me and I'm sorry you loved me."
At the hospital, Dante was diagnosed with a skull fracture that had gone untreated for more than seven hours. Doctors also found bruises and injuries around the boy's neck. Investigators found blood spattered around the apartment, including on the ceiling. There was a bloody diaper in the garbage.
"These injuries are diagnostic of severe child physical abuse," the examining doctor found.
Noting that the boy was "treated with particular cruelty," Pine County Attorney Reese Frederickson said he's prepared to change the charge to murder and seek the maximum punishment allowed.
Loun has a lengthy criminal record, including a 2006 conviction in Pine County for running over his roommate and attempting to hide the body by the side of the road. He was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide and served 41 months in prison for the death of Ricky Lamorie.
Last year, Loun also racked up two misdemeanor convictions for domestic abuse and one conviction for theft.
Loun, who lived with Carr and the boys in Sandstone, was picked up in the woods near his sister's home on Tuesday afternoon. Deputies found him under a tree, holding a knife, with nonfatal cuts along his arms. He remains in jail on $1 million bond, facing charges of first-degree assault, malicious punishment of a child and third-degree assault involving a victim younger than 4 years old. He is expected to appear in court for a hearing next week.
As of Friday afternoon, the GiveForward site had raised more than $3,000 to help Carr offset the cost of Dante's funeral and medical bills.