Star-Telegram, May. 4, 1998

Fatal beating is toddler's last potty lesson
By Yvette Craig, Staff Writer

FORT WORTH -- Darron Dwayne Wynn told investigators that it was "discipline." Police call it capital murder -- whipping and beating to death his girlfriend's 2-year-old boy because the child couldn't go to the potty by himself.

Five other young children reportedly watched the deadly punishment.

The boy, Jason Wallace, died Sunday morning after his mother rushed him to John Peter Smith Hospital.

Yesterday, police arrested Wynn, 30, for investigation of capital murder and Jason's mother, Tanya Jones, 25, for not doing anything to stop the child's abuse. "She knew about it, ignored it, and didn't report it," said homicide Sgt. Paul Kratz. "Then she lied about it by saying the child's natural father was responsible."

Wynn remained in the Tarrant County Jail last night with bail set at $500,000. Jones' bail was set at $25,000 on suspicion of injury to a child/serious bodily injury.

Kratz said investigators described the injuries to Jason as "the worst we've ever seen."

Jones took Jason to JPS about 11 a.m. Sunday when the boy stopped breathing, police said. During questioning, Jones said that her son had recently spent time with his father, from whom she is separated.

Police and hospital officials said there was evidence that the toddler, with old and new bruises and scars, had been abused for a period of time. Jason's exact cause of death had not been determined yesterday, a Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office spokesman said.

Wynn "claimed the child wouldn't go to the bathroom," Kratz said. "He claimed the child was disrespectful to him, so he disciplined him.

"He calls it discipline. Of course, we view it as something totally different -- child abuse. Nothing but child abuse."

Sadly enough, Kratz said, other children inside the two-bedroom apartment in the 2300 block of Galleria Drive probably witnessed what happened to Jason.

Jason had two siblings, ages 3 and 8, police said. The other three children, whose ages were not immediately known, were visiting Wynn on Sunday, said Marleigh Meisner, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services.

All five children were immediately removed from the apartment, Meisner said.

"There are suspicious marks on at least one of the other children," Kratz said. "We are checking to see if there is additional evidence of child abuse." After a court hearing yesterday, the three visiting children were returned to their mother. Jones' children were placed in foster care pending upcoming hearings, Meisner said.

"We do have a history with this family," Meisner said. "At this time I don't know how extensive it is."

Meisner said it was not clear whether there is a history of reported abuse involving Jason.

"All five of the children will be interviewed and videotaped individually by caseworkers to determine whether they saw anything that will help in the investigation or whether they were abused or neglected," Meisner said.

Wynn, who was unemployed, moved in with Jones in March, Kratz said. She worked at a fast- food restaurant, police said.

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