FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — More than two years ago, Fort Wayne police were looking for a man they said was a person of interest in the suspicious death of a toddler
Friday, the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for the same man, Trevon Bishop, 25, of Fort Wayne.
Bishop was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury, dating to the same date officers and medics were called to an apartment in the 4300 block of Joshua Lane where they found the toddler dead.
The child has been identified to WANE 15 as 1-year-old Elias Paez by a relative, named in a probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Ben MacDonald. Maribel Paez, step mother to the toddler’s mother, Jocelyn Paez, was one of several people who chalked outside the Allen County Prosecutor’s office last fall, demanding justice for the baby.
Officers were called to the Joshua Lane apartment around 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22, 2020. Several people at that time were attempting life-saving measures on Elias who was “yellow and purple in color and had a bruise on his forehead with dark coloring inside of his left ear,” court documents said. The toddler was “cold to the touch.” At 1:48 p.m., medics pronounced him dead at the scene.
An autopsy determined that the manner of death was undetermined, but the cause of death was tracheobronchitis with a contributing factor of multiple bruises of varying ages and that the injuries were “abusive.”
At the time, detectives had little to work with as video and photos that surfaced of the child that showed Elias to be happy and normal the night before he died.
That contrasted with information at the October 23, 2020 autopsy where the forensic doctor said he located a “large contusion to the back of the victim’s skull, but did not observe any immediate observation of brain injury,” the affidavit said. The doctor noted there was “evidence of abusive injuries to the back of the head and bottom lip along with previous abusive injuries.”
The day Elias died, his mother told officers she woke up around 5:30 a.m. and checked on Elias and gave him a kiss. He was asleep in his bedroom in a pack-and-play where he always slept, she said.
Jocelyn said it was just Trevon, the father of Elias, herself and the baby in the apartment. When she woke up, Trevon and the baby were already up and she went in to change Elias’ diaper. It was a normal routine and Elias seemed happy that morning. Then she left for work
Around 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., she got “an abnormally nice text message from Trevon, who told her “how grateful he was and how he was thankful she was always there for him.” He also said he wouldn’t have anything if it weren’t for her, court documents said.
When she got off work, she started to get other messages from Trevon telling her to meet him somewhere.
They met at George’s International grocery on Broadway where Trevon explained there was “something wrong.” Jocelyn said she immediately called Trevon’s mother, Kendra Bishop, and Maribel Paez, her stepmother, to go check on Elias since they lived much closer to the apartment.
When she found her son unresponsive on a mattress, she told MacDonald she “screamed and neighbors responded,” court documents said.
A witness reported that she heard Kendra Bishop tell Jocelyn “Why did you leave him with my son? You know what happened last time.”
Jocelyn responded with “I don’t know why I left him with his father. It’s his father,” court documents said.
Trevon told MacDonald that he got to the apartment at 4 a.m. that day and that he went in to check on the baby and change his diaper. He said he went to the couch and slept there until he got up around 11 – 11:30 a.m. When he checked in on the child, he noticed that he didn’t look normal and that the toddler looked discolored and stiff. He said he felt he should call EMS, but he wanted to talk to Jocelyn first.
Trevon said he met her at George’s International because “he did not want to say it over the phone,” court documents said.
He told MacDonald that he was unaware of any prior injuries and said he thought Elias either had an allergic reaction or swelling from eating pizza that was too hot. He also said he knew the toddler was dead prior to leaving with his friends and contacting Jocelyn.
Maribel Paez reported that Jocelyn told her that Jocelyn had seen Trevon hit Elias before. Maribel and her husband had been babysitting Elias for the last several months, but in the two weeks prior to the toddler’s death they hadn’t babysat “because Trevon and Jocelyn were back together,” court documents said.
Maribel also said that Jocelyn didn’t bring Elias over to her home because he had a black eye. Jocelyn blamed the black eye on the toddler falling into a table. She was able to see Elias about seven days before his death and that he had scratches and bruising and that Jocelyn told her he got those scratches at a park. Maribel also said that Jocelyn told her that Trevon hit the victim and that Trevon would threaten Jocelyn and hit the victim “if she did anything.”