A 23-month old boy died after being beaten at a troubled Charlotte motel Tuesday night, police said, and officers were interviewing the man taking care of the child.
Elijah Burger, who would have turned 2 on Dec. 3, was not breathing and unresponsive when paramedics found him about 6:30 Tuesday night. They called police and Elijah was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma, according to officers.
Witnesses said the boy had lashes across his body as paramedics pulled him out of the room in the South Tryon Street motel.
The man, who had not been charged by police late Tuesday, sat in the back of a patrol car for a few minutes before officers drove him to CMPD headquarters. Police have not identified the man or described his relationship to the boy.
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Elijah's mother was at work when her child died, neighbors said. When she found out a few minutes after 8 p.m., her screams brought neighbors out of nearby rooms.
Elijah and three members of his family had been living in the room for about two months said Wesley Marquez, site supervisor of a security team that polices the complex.
The room in building three was rented out by “a gentleman, a young lady and two kids,” Marquez said. “Quiet people – you would never hear nothing from them.”
But the motel where they were staying – the AARCS Suites near Woodlawn Road and Interstate 77 – is not a quiet complex.
Authorities said it is beginning to fit the model of nuisance hotels that city leaders have been trying to crack down on in Charlotte. The first week at the motel costs about $250; additional weeks are $190, a resident said. A few weeks ago, suspects in several Charlotte robberies and a South Carolina murder were arrested during a SWAT operation there.
“We do spend quite a bit of time out there. Oftentimes when there are problems in the immediate area, that's one of the hotels we'll go to to look for people involved,” said Capt. Sherie Pearsall, who oversees the Westover Division.
Pearsall and other officers have talked with members of management there about the problems, bringing police statistics to back up their points. “I'm pretty sure if those issues continue, we'll have to look at it from a nuisance standpoint.”