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Crime & Courts

Tampa man charged in 2012 death of 2-year-old boy

Tribune staff
Published:   |   Updated: May 31, 2013 at 09:12 AM
TAMPA -

A former Tampa resident was arrested Friday in Escambia County and charged with the 2012 death of his former girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.

Javaurian Saffold, 28, faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

He is being held without bail at the Escambia County Jail and will be extradited to Hillsborough County. A court date is set for Tuesday, according to Escambia County jail records.

Saffold is charged in the death of Christian Love, the son of Saffold’s former girlfriend, Candace Mitchell.

On May 25, 2012, Mitchell had gone to the apartment office to pay rent, and Saffold was left alone with the child in the Tampa apartment he shared with Mitchell, Tampa police said.

When Mitchell returned home, she discovered the child unresponsive, with shallow breathing. Saffold told Mitchell the boy fell and struck his head on the tile floor, police said.

The boy suffered severe brain trauma and was taken off life support five days later on May 30, 2012, police said. An autopsy determined the injury was not consistent with a fall, police said.

The investigation took longer because initially Mitchell told investigators Saffold was never left alone with the child, said Laura McElroy, a police spokeswoman.

Mitchell eventually recanted, McElroy said.

“That made the investigation more difficult,” McElroy said. “That caused a delay in the case.”

Investigators had to track down witnesses who saw Saffold and Mitchell enter the home and saw her leave to pay rent, McElroy said.

“It has been an active investigation,” McElroy said. “The only delay in the case was the choices and actions of the mother.”

During the initial investigation, Mitchell was charged with aggravated child abuse because police said she waited nearly five hours to take the boy to the hospital. She was jailed May 25, 2012, and released on her recognizance on Feb. 28, 2013, according to jail records.

Before his arrest Friday, Saffold was already serving probation in a 2008 Hillsborough County case for aggravated child abuse on an infant. Tampa police arrested him Friday during a meeting with his probation officer in Escambia County.

In the 2008 case, he was caring for a 2-month-old girl who was injured while under his care, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The girl was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where doctors ruled that the child’s injuries weren’t accidental, the sheriff’s office said.


jpatino@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7659

Twitter: @jpatinoTBO

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