Florida Man Fatally Beats Girlfriend's Toddler, Then Blames Injuries on Puppy

Bobby Frank Curry Jr. and Ezekiel Cotto-Saintfleur
Bobby Frank Curry Jr (left). and Ezekiel Cotto-Saintfleur. Facebook

A 20-year-old man in Florida has been arrested for allegedly killing his girlfriend's 23-month-old son by beating the child to death while babysitting and then trying to pin the blame on the couple's puppy.

As reported by Law & Crime, Bobby Frank Curry Jr. was taken into custody last week and charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated child abuse in the brutal slaying of young Ezekiel Cotto-Saintfleur, authorities announced.

Curry Jr. Grew 'Frustrated' with the Victim

Lakeland Police Department Chief Sam Taylor on Monday said he believed Curry was inexperienced in dealing with children and grew frustrated with the victim. "I will tell you I suspect that (Curry) was overwhelmed. He was probably unused to babysitting a 23-month-old," Taylor said. "I believe that he was frustrated."

The chief also said that Curry waited more than two hours before seeking medical attention for Ezekiel. "It's unconscionable and unfathomable for almost two-and-a-half hours to go by from the first signs Ezekiel was injured until Mr. Curry decided to notify 911," Taylor said.

According to police, officers at about 5:25 p.m. on March 5 responded to a home on Kansas Avenue in Lakeland regarding an unresponsive child. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders said that they found Ezekiel lying on the floor in the bathroom. He was not breathing and had no discernible pulse.

Police performed lifesaving procedures until emergency medical personnel with the Lakeland Fire Department arrived and took over. Ezekiel was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center for treatment. Due to the severity of the toddler's injuries, he was then transported to Tampa General Hospital where he was admitted in critical condition. Ezekiel succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on March 8.

Curry Jr. Told Cops the Puppy Jumped on the Toddler, Causing Him to Fall and Hit His Head

In an interview with police, Curry allegedly said that he was babysitting Ezekiel while his girlfriend, the boy's mother, was at work on March 5. Curry and the mother had been dating for approximately four months and had moved in together in February 2024.

Per Taylor, Curry told investigators that he was giving Ezekiel a bath at about 2 or 3 p.m. that afternoon because the boy had wet himself. When Ezekiel got out of the bath, Curry allegedly said that one of the two puppies in the house came into the bathroom and jumped on the toddler, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the bathtub and bathroom floor. He said the toddler "tensed up," but was breathing when he laid him down on the bed.

Autopsy Determined Ezekiel Died from Blunt Force Trauma to the Front and Top of the Head

A few minutes later, at about 3:15 p.m., Curry said he went to check on Ezekiel and saw that the toddler had stopped breathing. Curry performed CPR which led to Ezekiel again starting to breath.

Between 3:15 p.m. and 5:25 p.m., Curry and Ezekiel's mother exchanged a total of 67 messages on Instagram about the child's condition before the mother finally told him to call 911. "Is it possible for a child to go into cardiac arrest," Curry asked in one of the messages, Taylor said.

A subsequent autopsy determined that Ezekiel's cause of death was blunt force injuries to the front and top of the head and the manner of death was homicide. Curry is currently being held in Polk County Jail without bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 16 for his arraignment.