Brian Jamal Wooden, 28, was arrested Sunday and is facing charges including felony first-degree murder. Officers responded to an apartment on the 3700 block of Benning Road Southeast Wednesday night after a 911 call reporting an unconscious child. When officers arrived, 1-year old Carter Sanders was unresponsive in the home. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Wooden is the boyfriend of Carter Sanders’ mother, according to police spokeswoman Karimah Bilal.
Sanders’ mother reportedly told police that Carter was unharmed and physically fine when she left for work that morning. She said Wooden dropped her off at the Gallery Place metro station, leaving Carter in Wooden’s care for the day. According to investigators, Wooden told Sanders’ mother that Carter suffered a head injury while playing with Wooden’s own child and his brother’s children during the day. However, Wooden then told investigators he left Carter with his uncle and brother during the day to attend a domestic violence training class, and said Carter did not suffer any falls or injuries.
Wooden then told police that he took Carter to a hotel pool and bought him McDonalds before the pair returned home. Wooden claimed they both fell asleep on a sofa, and when he woke up, the room smelled foul and Carter was unresponsive. Wooden performed CPR until emergency services arrived.
The mother of Wooden’s child told authorities that their child was in daycare for the entire day, contradicting Wooden’s statements to his girlfriend. Police believe Wooden lied to Carter’s mother to explain the head injury. Furthermore, a neighbor that spoke to NBC 4 anonymously said that Wooden took Carter out of his SUV around 1 p.m. Wednesday. Carter was then unresponsive, with Wooden saying “The baby ain’t breathing; the baby won’t wake up”. Police were not called for another six hours.
An autopsy concluded Carter died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries occurring under two hours before his death. His death has been officially ruled a homicide, and spokeswoman Bilal said more information would be available during Wooden’s court appearance.