Missouri man charged with murder in toddler's death

Friday, February 17, 2012 | 1:50 p.m. CST

STOVER — A central Missouri man has been charged in the fatal beating of a toddler whose injuries initially were blamed on a highway hit-and-run.

Online court records show that 21-year-old Thomas Presley of Stover was charged Friday in Morgan County with one count of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's son, Blake Litton.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Department says 3-year-old Blake was pronounced dead at a Sedalia hospital Thursday morning.

Authorities were first told he was struck by a hit-and-run driver along Missouri Route 135. Investigators said they later determined that Presley staged the hit-and-run to cover up a beating.

No attorney is listed for Presley in online court records.