Ruben Negrete

Three days after he was admitted to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, a 22-month-old St. Clair boy died from severe internal injuries, and a second-degree murder charge is being sought against the toddler’s stepfather.

The Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will seek a second-degree murder charge against Ruben Negrete.

Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks told the paper Wednesday it could be several weeks before any additional charges may be filed. He said he had not seen any reports or medical records yet.

“We’re still waiting for everything to come in,” he said. “We did file the assault charge, but we can’t file anything else until we review everything.”

Hammack said the death could end up being the first homicide in the city this year. He said St. Clair has had 13 homicides in the past 25 years.

Earlier Story

St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack said Manual Jackson, who would have turned 2 in January, died at 4:09 p.m. Tuesday at the children’s medical center. Hammack said his mother had driven him to Mercy Hospital Washington Saturday, and he was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon later that day.

Negrete, 23, St. Clair, had been charged with first-degree assault, a Class A felony, Monday as the result of an investigation that began the day before. The St. Clair Police Department was notified the toddler had been admitted to the children’s medical center Saturday with severe internal injuries and began its investigation Sunday.

Hammack said the investigation revealed that Nov. 9, Negrete allegedly had struck his stepson multiple times at their residence on Quail Ridge Drive. Hammack also said that Negrete admitted to striking the boy with his fist Nov. 16, the day before he was admitted to the hospital.

The St. Clair police chief said Negrete, Jackson and his mother had moved into a home on Quail Ridge Drive already occupied by two friends about three weeks ago. They had moved there from a mobile home park in Villa Ridge.

Hammack said neither the boy’s mother nor the two friends are under investigation at this time.

Bond was set at $100,000. Hammack said Negrete currently is being held in the Franklin County Jail.