Darnell D'Angelo Dorsey, 21, was arraigned on a single felony count of assault on a child resulting in death, but did not enter a plea Monday in Yolo Superior Court in connection with the death of 20-month-old Davis boy. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Crime, Fire + Courts

Suspect in toddler’s death makes first court appearance

By From page A1 | January 28, 2014

WOODLAND — A Davis toddler who died at a Sacramento hospital last weekend suffered from a lacerated liver, hemorrhaging to his brain and had broken ribs in various stages of healing, his grieving mother said Monday.
“He was the sweetest little boy — he was smart and always smiling. I wish he was still with us,” an emotional Veronica Rix said of her son, 20-month-old Cameron Morrison, following a court appearance for the suspect in the child’s death.

Darnell D’Angelo Dorsey, 21, was arraigned on a single felony count of assault on a child resulting in death, but did not enter a plea. He is due back in court March 18 for plea entry and scheduling of pretrial hearings.

While Davis police say they are investigating the case as a homicide, the case’s prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin, said her office is awaiting medical records and other reports before determining whether any additional charges will be filed.

Dorsey has retained a private attorney, Jessica Graves, who declined to comment at length about the allegations until she receives further information about the case.

“The whole event is really a tragic situation, and we look forward to helping Mr. Dorsey clear up what happened,” Graves said.

Dorsey was taken into custody Wednesday night after a distraught Rix flagged down an ambulance outside the Dutch Bros. Coffee kiosk at Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive, a visibly injured Cameron inside of her car.

Rix said Dorsey, whom police described as Rix’s boyfriend but not the boy’s biological father, had been caring for Cameron that evening and was holding the unconscious child when she returned to her Olive Drive home.

“He brought him to me at the door — he was screaming that he wasn’t breathing,” Rix said. She added that Dorsey gave no indication of how the injuries occurred, but said he had shaken the child “to try to get him to come to.”

Rix’s mother, Tracy Rix, said Cameron had been in her care until early Wednesday afternoon. Normally cheerful, the toddler was feverish that morning and vomited at one point, but seemed to be fine when Dorsey arrived to pick up Cameron and his 3-year-old brother.

“When Cameron saw him, he started crying,” Tracy Rix said. Thinking he was out of sorts from his illness, she gave Dorsey some medicine for the child’s fever, “and they left.”

The next time she saw Cameron, he was fighting for his life at the UC Davis Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday after being removed from life support.

Yolo County coroner’s officials conducted an autopsy Monday afternoon, but both the cause and manner of death remain undetermined pending additional tests and investigation, spokesman Mark Persons said.

Cameron’s mother and grandmother both said there were no indications the toddler had been the victim of abuse prior to last week’s tragic events.

But now, Tracy Rix is questioning whether Dorsey also inflicted injuries on her older grandson — Dorsey’s biological son — who recently suffered a broken wrist and a black eye, she said.

“I want to be here at every court date to make sure he pays for what he did to my grandson, to both my grandsons,” she said.

Dorsey is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Yolo County Jail.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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