Two charged in connection with death of boy

Toddler found dead Friday in Brooklyn
June 7, 2008 9:06:05 PM PDT
A toddler's guardian and her boyfriend have been arrested after the 3-year-old boy was found dead and showed signs of horrific abuse, police said. Police found Kyle Smith's battered body Friday in the apartment he shared with his guardian and her boyfriend.

Around 10:30 a.m., police went to the fourth-floor apartment at 129 Patchen Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Paramedics took the unresponsive child to Interfaith Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner ruled Smith had been beaten to death. Police said the 28-pound boy had a broken leg and appeared to have been burned and sodomized with an object before he died.

"The kid was really messed up," neighbor Greg Daniels, 22, told the Daily News. "He was pale, and there were cigarette burns and bruises on his arms and back."

On Saturday, authorities charged the boy's legal guardian, Nymeen Cheatham, 30, and her boyfriend, Lemar Martin, 25, with assault. Martin also was charged with marijuana possession. They will be arraigned on Saturday.

Police said additional charges could be filed once the autopsy was complete. The couple remained in custody Saturday. It was unclear whether they had lawyers.

A superintendent in the building, Gail McNally, told reporters the boy had arrived at the home about a year and a half ago, and was in Cheatham's care because his mother was a drug addict.

She said the boy appeared malnourished when he first came to the family, but had improved and had previously shown no outward signs of serious physical abuse.

"It broke my heart to see them pumping his chest and breathing for him on a respirator," McNally said. "I was hoping to God he had a chance."

Neighbors called Cheatham the boy's godmother, but a police spokesman said that description was incorrect.