Mother charged with murder in death of 3-year-old Donnell Coakley

Tylesha Griffin / Photo from Chicago Police
Tylesha Griffin / Photo from Chicago Police

Tylesha G. Griffin ordered held without bond Monday in the death of her 3-year-old son at their West Ridge home.

Donnell Coakley Jr.‘s parents found him unresponsive in his bed at their home in the 6500 block of North Seeley Avenue about 8:40 p.m. Friday, authorities said.

Donnell was taken to Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he died about an hour later, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Earlier that day, Donnell’s parents left the boy with a relative to attend a hearing with his father’s parole officer, a police source said.

When the parents returned home, they found the boy lying in bed in his own vomit, according to a police report, which noted the parents cleaned the toddler and put him back to bed.

When the parents later found the boy unresponsive they called authorities, according to the police report.

Responding officers found wounds on Donnell’s wrists consistent with being bound, according to the police report, which also noted torso wounds in various stages of healing.

When officers asked Griffin about the injuries she allegedly said that she disciplined the boy with a belt, according to the police report.

A Saturday autopsy was inconclusive pending further studies, but police announced Sunday that an investigation determined Griffin was responsible for Donnell’s injuries and she was charged with first-degree murder.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigated allegations of neglect against both the boy’s parents, said department spokeswoman Karen Hawkins.

Donnell’s two siblings were taken into protective custody under a DCFS-monitored safety plan, Hawkins said.

The agency had previous contact with the mother in 2011, also for allegations of neglect, Hawkins said.

On Monday, Griffin was ordered held without bond Monday and will be back in court Nov. 26, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

— Sun-Times Media Wire

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