- Associated Press - Thursday, September 8, 2011

BALTIMORE — A 25-year-old man has been charged with fatally stabbing his 1-year-old son who was found wrapped in a deflated air mattress in the basement of his home.

The boy’s mother, Jessica McFadden, called police Wednesday morning afraid that her son, Dalyrie, had been abducted from a second-floor bedroom.

Officers found blood on the bed in the master bedroom, where the boy was last seen, and followed the trail to the basement. The child was stabbed several times in the neck and was not breathing, authorities said. He died later at a hospital.

Ms. McFadden told police that she had asked her son’s father, Hari Close, to come over to celebrate the boy’s first birthday the night before, but he never responded and she went to bed.

Ms. McFadden awoke early in the morning to the sound of the boy crying and saw Mr. Close carrying him from the room. It’s not clear in the court documents how Mr. Close arrived at her home. She said Mr. Close returned with the boy and got into bed with her.

Ms. McFadden said she and Mr. Close both left the house and walked in opposite directions when she took her older son to school. Ms. McFadden had left Dalyrie at home but when she returned 10 minutes later, she said she could not find the boy and the basement door was wide open. She called police.

Ms. McFadden told police that Mr. Close had harmed the child in the past, trying to choke him and biting his ear.

In his taped interview with police, Mr. Close said he returned to the home and found the child in the bedroom bleeding from the neck. He said he wrapped the boy in the air mattress and took him to the basement, without trying to call 911 or ask neighbors for help. He said he stashed his bloody clothes and a fitted sheet from the bed in the backyard of a nearby vacant house.

Detectives found the clothes and sheet in a box in the yard Mr. Close described and also found a kitchen knife with a blood-covered handle, according to court documents. Mr. Close was being held on first- and second-degree murder, assault and other charges.

Mr. Close’s father, a well-known funeral home director in the city and president of the state morticians’ board, told the Baltimore Sun he never saw any signs that his son was troubled.

“He’s been raised in a Christian church, a two-parent home, with great opportunities for education,” Hari P. Close II said. “Who really knows their children? All we can do is pray.”

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