CLARKSVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A 27-year-old Clarksville man has been charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son last week.
“It’s like someone just snatched your heart out and you’re still somehow living but you don’t want to be,” Daniel Sceviour, the boy’s father, told News 8. “Just knowing what happened is a lot harder to swallow because no kid deserves to die like that. It’s not fair.”
Matthew Ryan Rademacher was arraigned Monday on charges of felony murder and first-degree child abuse.
The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office says emergency responders were called to a home on W. Ferney Street in Clarksville around 9 a.m. Friday.
Crews were told Colton Sceviour had choked on his breakfast and wasn’t breathing. He was resuscitated and rushed to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he died around 1:30 p.m.
Hospital staff then told the sheriff’s office they had noticed bruising on several areas of the child’s body. They say there were no signs of choking and no food in the child’s airways.
The Kent County medical examiner later agreed Colton had not choked and determined he had instead sustained a traumatic brain injury. The death was ruled a homicide.
“The autopsy revealed various levels of bruising all over the body,” Ionia County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Butler said Monday. “There was no logical reason for the number of bruises found on the boy’s body, per (the medical examiner).”
The prosecutor added statements from first responders said the 2-year-old had bruising on his cheek and foam around his mouth.
An arrest warrant was issued for Rademacher, who lived with Colton and his mother, Saturday.
Colton’s father says he had previously noticed bruising on his son and brought it up to the child’s mother several times. He says he was told every time that Colton fell while playing.
“I knew there was something else going on, I just didn’t know what. When I heard what really happened and who was behind it, my emotions just flooded with anger, frustration, sadness,” Sceviour said. “The constant bruises on my son’s neck, on his face, on his arms. Every time I received him for my custodial visits, there always seemed to be some kind of new bruise.”
Authorities said they were not aware of any prior calls to the Clarksville home for child endangerment.
Sceviour said he didn’t go to police then but wishes he would have. He is now calling for anyone involved in his son’s death to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“Anyone out there who has children, hug them as tight as you can, kiss them like you’ve never kissed them before because you never know when it’s going to be the last time,” an emotional Sceviour said.
Rademacher, who was audibly crying during the court proceeding, entered a not guilty plea on Monday afternoon.
After Butler cited concerns of a 2019 case of misdemeanor stalking case and Rademacher’s past substance abuse, a judge denied him bond. That means he’ll stay jailed as his case works its way through the justice system. He is due back in court Oct. 5.
The charges he faces now carry penalties of up to life in prison.
“I want justice for my son and I want this murderer locked up behind bars for the rest of his life. I don’t want him to see the light of day,” Sceviour said of Rademacher.
Colton’s family is arranging a memorial service in Greenville this weekend. Details can be found on the Facebook page for the event.