A local man faces felony charges after police say his 12-year-old son died from an apparent attack.
According to online court records, Chad Aaron Baker, 39, is charged in Polk County Circuit Court with class A felony first-degree murder, class A felony first-degree domestic assault and felony armed criminal action.
He's being held in Polk County Jail on a warrant carrying a $250,000 cash or surety bond.
The probable cause statement said officers responded to the 1300 block of West Parkview Street in Bolivar at around 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, for a report of the death of a 12-year-old boy. The police department has not released the name of the victim.
Lt. Roger Barron said the property owner, a grandparent, made the call to 911.
“Upon arrival, officers located the male juvenile ... laying on the ground behind a garage on the property,” the statement said.
He was unconscious and was not breathing, the statement said.
The statement said the 12-year-old “had sustained obvious blunt force trauma to his head” and had a fractured skull.
His injuries were “consistent with being struck by a blunt object with an immense amount of force,” the statement said. Emergency medical personnel arrived shortly after officers located the child and declared him dead.
Two men — Baker and a witness — were on scene when officers arrived, the statement said.
As officers began to collect initial information, the witness said Baker had killed the 12-year-old, who was Baker’s son, the statement said. The witness said Baker contacted him and said he "needed to talk to him."
The witness said “he knew something was wrong so he responded to the residence,” where he found the boy’s body on the ground. At some point, Baker “admitted to him that he had killed” the child, the statement said.
Officers found a “large piece of cylindrical steel,” which appeared to be the probable weapon, near the child’s body, the statement said.
Baker was arrested on scene, Barron told the BH-FP.
The father and the child did not live at the Bolivar residence, Barron said, but migrated between there and another residence in Cedar County, staying at each location around a week at a time.
He said the 12-year-old was a student in the Stockton R-1 school district.
The investigation is ongoing, Barron said.
While this is the second homicide in Bolivar in the past six months, Bolivar police chief Mark Webb said such violence is an uncommon occurrence for the community.
Webb said the 12-year-old’s death on Sunday is heart wrenching.
“The events of Sunday evening are devastating and heartbreaking for the community and the family,” he said.
Webb encouraged people in distress to reach out for help.
“There are usually behavioral indicators that manifest themselves before violence erupts,” he said. “Please reach out for assistance. There are national hotlines, resources in Springfield and in the local area.”
The chief said the Bolivar Police Department “takes domestic violence seriously.”
Webb said that’s why his staff receives crisis intervention training.
He also said his department works with a community mental health liaison and utilizes its internal Return Service or Visit Program, or RSVP. Through RSVP, officers follow up with community members around 72 hours after they respond to a call deemed as a crisis for those involved.
“We make a conscious effort to make the victims aware of services and support,” Webb said. “We will respond to the initial 911 call, then we attempt to recontact the parties to ensure they are fully aware of our community partners, resources and any way we can be of further assistance.”
According to online court records, Baker is also facing felony charges related to child endangerment in Cedar County Circuit Court.
He was charged with two counts of class D felony first-degree endangering the welfare of a child — first offense and class E felony DWI — persistent on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
A motion for continuance was filed by the state last week on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Baker’s next hearing for that case was moved to Wednesday, Oct. 14.
Baker is due in court Wednesday, Aug. 19, for a criminal setting in the Polk County courthouse before Associate Judge John C. Porter. There was no attorney listed as representing Baker in the Polk County case per online court records.
If convicted of a class A felony, he faces 10 to 30 years or life in prison, per the felony complaint.