COVINGTON -- A 25-year-old man faces a murder charge following the death of his girlfriend's 7-year-old son.
Ethan Israel Martinez died Sunday at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston due to blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
The suspect, David Joe Mann Jr., of 20 Paden St., was initially charged with cruelty to children and aggravated battery after Newton County EMS was called to his home on Sept. 18, when Martinez was found to be unresponsive. He was transported to Egleston via ambulance with life-threatening injuries.
Mann was arrested Sept. 20 following an investigation by the Sheriff's Office and has been in jail since that time, according NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver. Charges against Mann were upgraded to felony murder following the child's death on Sept. 23.
Mann is being held without bond. Oliver said the NCSO has obtained a statement from Mann.
According to Oliver, Mann was the only adult in the home when EMS was called to the scene. Oliver said Mann and the mother of the victim are the parents of a 6-month-old child. The couple live in a subdivision off Ga. Highway 81 South. Oliver said they had lived together for 18 months to two years.
Oliver declined to give any details about what led to the child's death, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Martinez was a student at Livingston Elementary School.
“We are deeply saddened by Ethan’s death and we know his classmates will be too,” said Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations for the Newton County School System. “Counselors will be on hand at Livingston for students and teachers when they return from fall Break. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ethan’s family during this difficult time.”