Mother Charged With Covering For Boyfriend Who Beat Her 4-Year-Old Son To Death

March 4, 2014  |  

In June of 2013, Tania Merisca, 27, gave a tearful interview to The Boston Globe about the death of her 4-year-old son, Chauncey Coleman. In it, the Brokton, Massachusetts mother spoke about wanting to understand what happened to her son, who had died under “suspicious circumstances.” That was how the story was reported for most of the summer. According to reports, Merisca claimed that her son became unresponsive when she was giving him a bath, and the child wound up dying when she took him to the hospital soon after. But it has come out that Merisca actually played a part in her own son’s death, and covered up the truth to protect her boyfriend.

According to the Boston Herald and the district attorney handling the case, Coleman told relatives that his mother’s boyfriend, Antonio Durham, 32, had started punching him in the past because he “needed to toughen up.” The punches increased, and by that fateful night on June 2, they had become so bad that they cost the child his life.

As the story goes, Coleman, who was only 35 pounds according to District Attorney Frank Middleton, was left with bruises on his arms, back, butt and stomach, and one punch given to him was so bad that the child began to hemorrhage internally. While staying at the Holiday Inn Express with his mother and her boyfriend (Merisca claimed she wanted to relax for a few days), the child began to fall ill because of his injuries. According to the Boston Herald, at one point, a staff member at the hotel saw Merisca and Durham standing outside with the child, who was laid out on the ground. When the maid approached the couple to ask if Coleman was okay, Durham reportedly told her, “He’s just a little sick. He’s OK.”

The couple then took Coleman to the hospital. According to reports, Merisca handed her son off to a nurse and went to look for her boyfriend, Durham, who had already left the scene. Before she bolted, Merisca initially claimed that the child drowned in the bathtub. The 4-year-old died an hour after arrival.

In part of her aforementioned interview with the Boston Globe, Merisca claimed that earlier on in the day that her son passed, she was at work and her boyfriend was watching Coleman at the Holiday Inn Express in Brockton. Before anyone could accuse him of anything, she immediately defended him. “He is somebody who respects me and my child and that’s it.” Merisca also wished that she would have been with her son during his last hours.  “For this to happen, it’s a tragedy. And I’m so mad at myself because I wished I had just called out of work.”

After an autopsy, a long investigation and information/testimony from witnesses and others, the medical examiner determined that the child died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen, and labeled the death a homicide.

It’s unclear the status of Merisca and Durham’s relationship now, but he was arrested on Monday and hit with a murder charge.  Merisca was arrested and charged as an accessory to her son’s murder. District Attorney Middleton made it clear that Merisca was aware of her boyfriend’s abuse to her son and even after Coleman died, she was trying to protect Durham, asking family members to lie for her and changing her story when talking to police.

As for Coleman’s actual father, Chet Cohen, Jr., he was at a hearing for the case with his father. Chet Cohen, Sr., Coleman’s grandfather, told the Boston Herald that when it comes to Merisca and Durham, he wants to see them behind bars. “I just hope both of them get what they deserve.”

 

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