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Omaha Police release new details in ‘suspicious death’ of 5-year-old boy

Suspect Antonea Cannon is denied bond in a case involving the death of a 5-year-old boy
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 11:46 AM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Police on Friday confirmed the identity of the woman taken into custody after a 5-year-old boy died at an Omaha hospital on Thursday.

Antonea Cannon, 20, was arrested after the boy, Jaylen Hearnes, died Wednesday afternoon. She apparently brought the child to the hospital.

Antonea Cannon
Antonea Cannon(Omaha Police Department)

Officers were called to North 56th and Manderson Street at 2:37 p.m. Wednesday after a report of an unresponsive child, an OPD spokesman said Thursday. While on the way, they were redirected to CHI Health-Creighton University Medical Center where the child was taken and later pronounced dead.

According to reports, Cannon told police she left Hearnes in the care of her 12-year-old sister at her home at 73rd and Wirt Circle while she went to work. Police add Cannon claimed the biological mother of Hearnes asked if she could pick up the boy and take him to lunch, to which she agreed and told her sister about the plan. The biological mother then picked up Hearnes and had him for an unknown amount of time, then dropped him off back at the home.

Police say Cannon claims she returned from work to pick up Hearnes, then took him while she picked up her two other children at daycare. Cannon then saw Hearnes was unresponsive and took him to the hospital.

However, police say the story doesn’t line up.

While Cannon was interviewed by police, her 12-year-old sister was located and interviewed at Project Harmony.

The 12-year-old told police she was not at home on the date of the incident and did not babysit the victim. She says the last time she saw Hearnes alive was the day before.

Another sister of Cannon’s confirmed what the 12-year-old sister said.

Several injuries were observed on Hearnes’ body. Police say it was consistent with severe child abuse.

Search warrants on both addresses were executed. Police say blood and blood splatter were observed at the Manderson address, and a “striking instrument” was also found that was splintered and had possible blood spots.

Cannon told police she was the sole caretaker of Hearnes. Her children were removed from her care and made state wards.

Cannon was booked on charges of homicide and intentional child abuse, but those charges were amended to “commit child abuse intentional with death.” She also has a daughter with the boy’s father, 48, who is also at the Douglas County Jail. He’s been there for the past four weeks facing a host of charges that include domestic violence.

She appeared in court Friday afternoon and was denied bond.

A preliminary hearing is set for April 5. If convicted, she faces 20 years to life.

Managing Editor Kevin Westhues and Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.

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