Lake Charles man charged in death of 18-month-old

Efrem F. "Jay" Ogwin, Jr. (Source: CPSO)
Efrem F. "Jay" Ogwin, Jr. (Source: CPSO)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Authorities in Calcasieu Parish arrested a Lake Charles man Wednesday for second degree murder after an investigation into the death of an 18-month-old baby.

On Monday, the mother of an 18-month-old baby boy and the mother's boyfriend - 24-year-old Efrem F. "Jay" Ogwin, Jr. - brought the child to a local hospital. While at the hospital, the baby died.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office was notified and they began investigating the death. The coroner performed an autopsy, and he ruled the death a homicide because of injuries to the baby.

Officials questioned Ogwin on Wednesday. He was then arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on charges of second degree murder.

"This is one of those cases that breaks your heart and makes you wonder," said Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

According to Calcasieu Coroner Dr. Terry Welke, authorities knew something wasn't right.

"There were bruises and scrapes on the outside of the body which kind of gives us the idea there was a possibility of having some sort of foul play," said Welke.

The autopsy results confirmed those suspicions. Welke said the child died of blunt force trauma. His injuries included a punctured lung, damaged liver and internal bleeding. Welke said x-rays also revealed the abuse had been going on for some time.

"When the autopsy was performed there were two ribs on the right outer-chest area that had been fractured or broken. That's likely where he got the puncture to his lung, which he probably had difficulty breathing. Only those injuries weren't recent - they were probably a week or two old, possibly even older than that," explained Welke.

Neighbors were having a hard time dealing with the news. "In shock! Totally shocked! I just can't believe it," said Emily Sylvester. "I'm devastated because it's right in my door. And looking at him yesterday it was like nothing had ever happened."

According to Sylvester the child called Ogwin daddy. She recalled the child did have visible injuries that she now questions.

"About a month or so ago he was scarred and it messed up his face. I believe it happened with hot water," said Sylvester.

Sylvester said during the past few days Ogwin appeared nervous.

"He was fidgety, just moving around a lot. Emotional and crying," said Sylvester.

"We asked him several times if he was okay. He said that he was better. He said he didn't want to stay in the house because the house had reminded him too much of the little boy," said another neighbor.

Ogwin's return to jail comes a little more than six months after he was released on parole for a drug conviction. Meanwhile the child's mother is not a suspect at this time.

"The investigation is ongoing. But at this time we feel like we have the person responsible for the injuries of this child in jail," said Sheriff Mancuso.

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