UPDATE: 17-month-old baby dies from injuries inflicted by aunt’s boyfriend; family speaks to KFOR following tragic death

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NOTE: This article has been updated to include the baby’s name, as well as reactions from his family following his death. That information is featured further into the story.

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Norman police say a man confessed to abuse that led to the death of a 17-month-old baby on Wednesday. KFOR has since learned that the suspect is the boyfriend of the baby’s aunt.

Demontre Deshawn Rose, 21, confessed to multiple acts of abuse, including putting a sock in the baby’s mouth and lying on top of him until he was unresponsive, according to Sarah Jensen with the Norman Police Department.

The baby, identified by his family as Nyier Langston, died in a hospital on Wednesday. He had been on life support since Oct. 23, when he was brought to the hospital.

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Nyier Langston

Police described Rose as the child’s sole caretaker.

“We are not releasing that information at this point,” Jensen told KFOR. “At this point we are naming him as the sole caretaker.”

Police were called to Norman Regional Hospital on Oct. 23 regarding an unresponsive 17 month old.

Medical staff attempted to save the baby, who was hospitalized for need of advanced medical care.

The trauma to Nyier was extensive. He suffered internal injuries that include a spleen laceration, liver laceration, collapsed lung, rib fractures and hemorrhage in both eyes. He also had bruising and bite marks.

“What we do believe is that the abuse was over a period of time,” Jensen said.

Rose was arrested on Oct. 23 on suspicion of child abuse by injury, but the complaint against him has since been amended to first-degree murder, according to Jensen.

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Demontre Rose

Rose is the Cleveland County Detention Center’s custody.

KFOR spoke with the Nyier’s family on Wednesday.

“My baby’s gone. That’s crazy,” said mother Bobbi Barneys.

She was devastated by what Rose did to her son.

“What happened to him is crazy and that’s just foul,” she said. “You shouldn’t do that to no baby, an innocent baby.”

Barneys said in early September she and Nyier’s father brought the baby from Atlanta to stay with his aunt, Deja Funches, for a while in Norman.

Rose is the aunt’s boyfriend. On Oct. 23, he was supposed to be caring for the baby while the aunt was at work. Instead, he admitted to police that he abused the child, leading to his death.

Funches is feeling deep guilt that her boyfriend is charged with killing her brother’s son.

“I’m surprised that it happened,” she said. “I didn’t expect it. Nobody expected it.”

Her brother, David Langston, is focusing the blame on Rose instead of her.

“She feels like it’s her fault,” he said of his sister’s remorse. “But I told her it wasn’t. She’s just as traumatized as us because she feels like she was responsible and that we trusted our son with her.”

While the family is feeling deeply depressed, they’re also cherishing the light Nyier gave them in his short life.

“Nyier was a happy child,” said Funches. “He loved to laugh and all that, all the time. He didn’t cry a lot. He was happy. He was always happy.”

Norman police told KFOR they don’t know why Rose abused the baby, but they’ll continue to investigate.

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