Austin Stonebarger

A 23-year-old Union man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 2-year-old boy early Saturday.

Austin T. Stonebarger is being held in the Franklin County Jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

According to Union police, officers responded to a home on Henry Drive just after midnight Saturday for the report of a child who was unconscious and not breathing.

Officers performed CPR and the toddler was transported to Mercy Hospital Washington where he was pronounced dead.

The child had been left with his mother’s boyfriend for most of the day, police said.

When officers arrived at the hospital, the child had multiple injuries.

According to the probable cause statement filed in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, the child had contusions and bruises covering his body “from head to toe, front and back.” He had burns to his legs and neck.

When Stonebarger was questioned, police said he gave inconsistent stories.

When pressed about the inconsistencies, Stonebarger admitted to police that he spanked the toddler with a belt and pushed him face first into the bathtub, causing him to strike his head multiple times.

Police said Stonebarger “indicated that he had been using methamphetamine for the last couple of days.”

The child’s mother has been cooperating with law enforcement to piece together the sequence of events in the days prior to the child’s death, police said.