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Police Arrest Mother, Aunt of Teen Accused in Ga. Baby Shooting

A cloud of confusion hovers above the shooting death of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in Brunswick, Georgia, as twists and turns abound in this disheartening case that has gripped the nation.

Police on Tuesday arrested the mother and the aunt of the 17-year-old suspect, De’Marquise Elkins, for making false statements to the police.

Meanwhile,  Ashley Glassey, 21, sister of the victim, said her mother altered details about the incident and immediately inquired about the insurance payout for the baby’s death. The mother, Sherry West, is bipolar, has schizophrenic tendencies and is likely on medication, according to reports. Glassey said her mother lost custody of her when she was 8.

“She changed her story—she told me the baby was shot first and then she told me she was shot first,”  Glassey said. She added that she told First Coast News that she has contacted the Brunswick Police Department to tell officers about her concerns, but no one has called her back..

As far as stories go, apparently police believe that Karimah Aisha Elkins, 36, the mother of De’Marquise Elkins, and his aunt, Katrina Latrelle Elkins, 33, have not been telling the truth, arresting the adults yesterday for “false statements or writings,” among other charges, according to the police complaint.

Both women were held in the Glynn County Detention Center until they were released on $1,104 bond. The aunt, Katrina Elkins, also was held for an unrelated probation violation.

New information also led police to a handgun that may have been used in the shooting.

“We arrested [the women] and brought them back to headquarters, where we afforded them the opportunity to make additional statements,” Chief Matt Doering of the Glynn County Police told The Associated Press yesterday. “That information led us to other witnesses . . . [who] led us to an area where the gun was disposed of.”

Doering would not say what false statements either woman made. But after Elkins and a 15-year-old suspect, whose name was being withheld because of his age, were arrested Friday, Katrina Elkins told the AP that her nephew couldn’t have been at the scene of the murder because he was at her house for breakfast Thursday morning. She said he then ran errands with her family at the time when the baby and his mother were shot.

“He was with us the whole time,” the aunt told the AP on Saturday. “There is no doubt in my mind that he is innocent.”

Both of the murder suspects made their first appearance in court on Monday. Wearing an orange jumpsuit, with his hands and feet shackled, the 15-year-old listened as Glynn County Judge Timothy Barton read him his Miranda rights.

Authorities have not yet said whether he will be prosecuted as a juvenile or adult, and he did not enter a plea.

Asked by the judge whether he had any questions, the teen said, “No, sir.”

The 15-year-old’s mother, Brenda Moses, said her son was “just a witness,” and that “he didn’t do anything wrong.”

“My feelings go out to the mother, and the baby and my baby,” Moses said. “They’ve handled this investigation wrong, and the truth is going to come out.”

Elkins also did not enter a plea when he appeared in court Monday. Dressed in regular clothes, his hands and feet were handcuffed and he wore a belt shackle. When he arrived in the courtroom, Elkins turned to his mother and nodded.

As he was about to be taken out, she said, “I love you, Marquise.”

In an appearance on CNN, Sherry West told Piers Morgan that she initially thought the gun was fake.

“I thought he was just using a toy gun to scare me. And then he shot at my head, and the bullet grazed my ear and the side of my head, and then he shot me in the leg, and I still thought that it was a fake gun,” she said.

“He kept asking me (for money), and I kept telling him I don’t have any,” she said. “He shot my baby in the face, and then I knew it was a real gun.”

“I’ll never hear his first word,” West said.

Immediately after the shooting, West said detectives searched her home for a gun and conducted gun residue tests on both her and the baby’s father. She said the tests were negative and the search did not turn up a gun.

Police spokesman Todd Rhodes would not comment on why her home was searched and those tests were conducted. West also said detectives hope to lift a fingerprint off the jacket she was wearing at the time of the shooting because she was grabbed or shoved briefly by the suspected shooter.

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