Madison County man sentenced to life without parole in murder of 18-month-old Harlan Haines

Dylan Tate

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. – A Madison County man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the death of his girlfriend’s son.

On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Dylan Tate to life without parole plus 50 years for child molestation and 2.5 years for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

In June, he was convicted on all five counts he faced: murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death, child molesting and two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in the death of 18-month-old Harlan Haines.

Harlan Haines/photo from Jackie Haines

In February 2018, Tate crashed his car with Harlan inside as he was trying to get the boy to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, Harlan was in respiratory arrest, his pupils were dilated and he had extensive bruising on his body. He later went into cardiac arrest; doctors told police the injuries weren’t consistent with a car crash. Doctors also found a partial napkin or paper towel in his windpipe.

Hospital staff discovered further injuries, including bruises around his mouth and ears, possible bite marks on his left arm and right leg, intracranial hemorrhaging and bruising on his genitals, among other injuries.

The Department of Child Services had investigated reported abuse involving Harlan in December 2017 but closed the case a few weeks later, saying injuries he’d suffered in that incident were “concerning…but not definitive.”

In the 2017 case, he suffered bruising and a fractured leg. His mother, Jennifer Harris, said a Christmas tree had fallen on him. Hospital staff contacted DCS because they had doubts about the validity of her explanation.

He was next in the hospital in February, when he died from injuries inflicted on his body.

Jennifer Harris’ trial is scheduled for November, according to court records. She is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

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