Mother’s boyfriend faces felony neglect charges in toddler death

Local News

A Fort Wayne man who was initially considered a “person of interest” in the death of a toddler now faces felony neglect charges. A warrant has been issued for Shane Patton.

Police arrested 2-year-old Jocelyn Belcher’s mother, Crystal Belcher, on Thursday on a felony charge of Neglect of a Dependent. Authorities have not been able to locate Patton, Belcher’s boyfriend.

Baby Jocelyn was found unresponsive in a home in the 200 block of Butler street Jan. 27. According to court documents, Belcher found the toddler wrapped in a blanket in the corner of the crib. When Belcher pulled the blanket away, Jocelyn was blue and barely breathing.

Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office said she died from lack of oxygen due to compression of the neck.

Baby Jocelyn’s father, Joseph Belcher, said a family member noticed signs of abuse 4 days before her death. 

He was growing concerned that his daughter might be in danger. He sent a family member to check on the girl, who confirmed his suspicions were true. 

“I heard somethings… that my daughter had been missing a tooth and had some hair pulled out or was losing hair,” he said. “I couldn’t do a well-being check so I asked my step-mom to go check on her. She told me exactly what I thought was true.”

Belcher could not see his daughter because of a restraining order filed against him by his wife Crystal last August. The two are estranged and court records show she filed for a divorce in January. 

“It’s hard to sleep at night knowing that my daughter is going through this and I really couldn’t do anything about it,” he said.

Belcher said the police and DCS were called but nothing came of it. 

Newschannel 15 learned Patton was previously investigated by the Department of Child Services for abusing another child. At least three reports were filed by a woman accusing Patton of sexually abusing her 4-year-old daughter.

Patton is described as a white man, 5-feet-9 and 200 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the police non-emergency line at 427-1222.

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