Woman, boyfriend charged with child abuse, murder of her 5-year-old in Redford motel

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Michael Deshawn Lewis and Steffani Dee Jones.

Police gave horrific details of suspected child abuse in court Thursday of the death of a 5-year-old in a Redford motel.

Two people were charged in the girl's death - her 26-year-old mother Steffani Jones and her boyfriend 30-year-old Michael Deshawn Lewis. Lewis and Jones have both been charged with Felony Murder, Second Degree Murder and two counts of First Degree Child Abuse.

Both were arraigned Thursday with Jones visibly breaking down crying and Lewis emotionless. 

At an earlier hearing, Redford police said that the girl, who died of blunt force trauma, showed extensive injuries as well as her brother, a 3-year-old who was found inside the Inn America on Telegraph outside the room with Lewis Tuesday morning.

Police and fire responded to calls of the girl not breathing, she had no vital signs and died at Beaumont Farmington Hills.

"The examination at that time showed multiple bruises on her back, legs and head. External vaginal tearing was also noted," said Det. Sgt. Jeffrey Bero Thursday in court. "At that time multiple bruises and healing injuries were found observed on the boy."

The 3-year-old was taken to Detroit Children's Hospital of Michigan by Child Protective Services, where he was found to have multiple bruises, swelling lacerations and a contusion to his liver, a distended abdomen and anemia.

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"Lewis was questioned, he said he and Jones are the only ones to watch the children," Bero said. "He said that the girl said she felt sick that morning. he said he went to the office for help and when he came back, she was laying on the bed. Lewis said that the girl's swollen eye occurred because she fell after he picked her up out of bed. 

"The boy's injuries came when he was playing on a slide at the park. He said that he uses a belt to discipline the both kids. And he also makes them do squats when they misbehave. The bruises are from playing rough."

Jones was later questioned and told police she and Lewis have been together 1-2 years and have domestic incidents once a week. She told police that the children "do get a whoopin" when they misbehave by she and Lewis, but said Lewis also uses his fists.  She added he uses a knife sheath to discipline the kids.

She told police he watched both kids five days a week while she works and that Lewis recently said he "Could not watch the kids anymore and that she would have to figure something out."

Jones told police the girl's swollen eye was from a bedbug bite because the kids are made to sleep on the floor. She said that the girl recently was caught drinking from the toilet and had to be disciplined. 

Police said that the Oakland County Medical Examiner autopsy showed internal bleeding, vaginal tearing, a torn adrenal gland, lacerated liver and multiple bruises.