12-year-old brain dead after “falling in shower”; Father, stepmother charged

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A San Antonio couple remains in jail after a 12-year-old boy died over the weekend.

Police were called around 7:30 p.m. Sunday to an apartment complex on the city’s northwest side. Officers found the boy to be “unresponsive” after his father, 32-year-old Derrick Coles, told police he fell in the shower.

After he was transported to an area hospital, medical staff told police the boy had injuries inconsistent with the father’s story.

The arrest affidavit reports that medical staff said the 12-year-old had “no brain activity” and had whipping marks on his legs and torso in addition to rectal bleeding and internal stomach bleeding. He was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

Coles and his wife, 27-year-old Kapri Cheatom, told police the 12-year-old had recently moved into his father’s home from Chicago after being abused by his biological mother.

Cheatom told police he had been “disrespectful” and “caused problems,” and said they would discipline the boy by making him do pushups and hold boxes up to 50 lbs.

The boy was disciplined on Sunday for multiple hours, according to the affidavit. He was first forced to hold a 32-count case of water for an hour until he physically was unable to, after which the couple told police they “lightened the load.” He was reportedly disciplined for four hours before he was sent to take a shower where his father said he fell and cut his eye.

Coles and Cheatom told police they let the boy eat before they forced him to do pushups until he physically could not and hit him with a belt multiple times. Cheatom said they knew he was bleeding and not moving while laying in the fetal position when they were whipping him with the belt. She told police she did not think he was in pain because he was not crying. 

Coles and Cheatom were arrested and charged with intentionally causing injury to a child. They both remain in the Bexar County Jail on $150,000 bond and police said they may face additional charges.

More about: