Prosecutors say 24-year-old Caitlyn Downs “willfully failed to protect two minor children from harm or threatened harm and that Downs was responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the children,” leading to the death of her son, Ely Newsom.
Court documents showed that while Downs was at work in Sept. 2022, her boyfriend, now 23-year-old Ryan Towell, called 911 from their apartment in Duncan because Ely was sitting on the toilet unresponsive, “slumped against the wall.”
Towell told the Duncan Police Department that the day before, Ely had wet his pants and that he had pushed the 3-year-old, causing him to “fall down face first and hit his head.”
The toddler was taken to Duncan Regional Hospital before being flown to the OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center’s trauma center in Oklahoma City, where he died the next day.
Relatives reported that Ely “had a purplish knot on his forehead that was approximately two inches long” and “was covered in bruises.”
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by blunt force trauma.
Towell was charged with first-degree murder and child abuse.
Downs was originally charged with murder in the second degree and two counts of child abuse, pleaded down to one count of child abuse.
At sentencing, Downs faces up to life in federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
Downs was charged in federal court because she is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and the incident occurred within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation.