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Two indicted in child beating death
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Smithville Review/Reed Vanderpool Cody Key was indicted Tuesday in the death of a 22-month-old child.

Two people have been indicted by a special session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury in connection with the death of a 22-month old child.


According to Captain Steven Leffew, of the Smithville Police Department, the unfortunate saga began early Sunday morning. "On May 15 at approximately 3:11 a.m. Smithville Police Sergeant Travis Bryant and Officer Joey Myers were dispatched to DeKalb hospital emergency room in reference to a possible child abuse resulting in the death of a two-year-old child. Investigating officers deemed the death to be of a suspicious nature. Captain Leffew, Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell were notified. Additionally District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and investigators from the District Attorney's office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded. On Tuesday, a special grand jury was convened, and Cody Key was indicted on first degree murder and Jessica May was indicted on aggravated child neglect," Leffew said.


District Attorney Bryant Dunaway told the Review that the child is believed to have died from blunt force trauma. "The District Attorney’s office, myself and Assistant District Attorney Greg Strong, responded to DeKalb Community Hospital early Sunday morning, along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Smithville Police Department, to investigate a case of a child who was deceased and had obvious injuries," Dunaway said.


"After an investigation by the TBI and the Smithville Police Department, a grand jury was convened today (Tuesday) at my office’s special request, and the DeKalb County Grand Jury has indicted Cody Key for first-degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse, and Jessica May for aggravated child neglect. After the grand jury issued true bills, we took the two into custody," the D.A. shared. "The victim is a 22-month old male child, who passed away some time Saturday night or early Sunday morning of blunt force trauma, believed to be at the hands of Cody Key. May was indicted based upon a pattern of neglect over the past year leading up to the events of the homicide, but she is not charged with the homicide. She is the mother of the victim, and Cody Key is her boyfriend. They lived together," Dunaway concluded.


"This is truly a tragic event. I pledge absolute commitment from the Smithville Police Department in the continued pursuit of justice in this case. Our prayers for strength and heartfelt condolences go out to the family." added Capt. Leffew.


The case remains under investigation.