Child’s death ruled homicide

Thursday, July 24, 2008 | 10:12 p.m. CDT; updated 11:09 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 24, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death of 2-year-old Cortez Johnson was a homicide, a Columbia Police Department news release said.

The medical report prompted police investigators in the Major Crimes Unit to request warrants on Thursday for second degree murder for the boy's parents, Horace Johhnson, 25, and Keyonda Lumpkins, 26, the news release said. The bond on each warrant was set for $1 million.

The boy died June 25 at University Hospital, the Missourian previously reported. An initial evaluation of Johnson found bruises and lacerations on his body that were believed to have been caused by his father.

The medical examiner determined that blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death, according to the release.

Though both of Johnson's parents were already in jail on unrelated charges, police couldn't arrest them on charges related to the boy's death until medical examiners filed an official cause of death report stating that the child's death was, in fact, a homicide.

Horace Johnson is currently an inmate of the Missouri Department of Corrections, and Lumpkins is incarcerated at the Boone County Jail on unrelated charges, the release stated.

The day after his son's death, Johnson was arrested in East St. Louis for a parole violation; he was held in the St. Claire County Jail in Cahokia, Ill. before being extradited back to the Missouri Department of Corrections. Police attempted to question Horace Johnson at that time, but he refused to cooperate.


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