Prosecutor plans to file murder charges after death of Anderson baby is ruled homicide

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UPDATE (July 9, 2019) -- Dylan Tate was sentenced to life without parole plus 50 years for child molestation and 2.5 years for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

ANDERSON, Ind. – The death of a 1-year-old Anderson boy has now been ruled a homicide.

Harlan Haines died back in February. At the time, prosecutors charged the child’s mom and her boyfriend with neglect.

“We got the autopsy this week with some very troubling findings. It was listed as a homicide,” said Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings.

The autopsy report gives a glimpse into the pain and suffering police say 1-year-old Harlan Haines endured before his small body could not take any more.

“It looks like this young child was sexually assaulted as well,” said Prosecutor Cummings.

The baby’s mom, Jennifer Harris, was formally charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Her boyfriend, Dylan Tate was also charged with neglect. Now, Prosecutor Cummings plans to charge them both with murder.

“The evidence is very powerful,” said Prosecutor Cummings.

In February, police say Tate brought the 1-year-old to the hospital and told doctors that he was hurt in a car crash, but the injuries did not match up. Doctors say the child was in respiratory and cardiac arrest and found part of a paper towel in his airway.

“They were sticking rags down his throat to stop him from screaming,” said Prosecutor Cummings.

According to family members, this was not the first time Harlan was in the emergency room.

“If they had taken the child or notified us this child would still be alive. It is a catastrophic failure by DCS,” said Prosecutor Cummings.

Back in December, Harlan had a broken leg and other injuries. The hospital says they called DCS but Prosecutors Cummings says DCS did not notify police or follow up.

“There are so many things that DCS could have done to keep this child alive,” said Prosecutor Cummings.

Cummings hopes the new changes made to DCS will help prevent future child deaths in his county.

“We have had seven dead babies in my community. Two under the supervision of DCS,” said Prosecutor Cummings.

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