LINDEN—A Linden woman was arrested earlier this afternoon and charged in the death of a 2-year-old boy who was in her care, according to Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Diana Matthews, 31, is charged with first degree murder and second degree endangering the welfare of a child. Union County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Perfilio set bail at $600,000.
On Feb. 25, at 12:28 a.m. Linden Police Department responded to a house on the 100 block of East 13th Street on a report of a child in distress, said Romankow.
Upon arrival, they found the 2-year-old, later identified as Xavier Gentleman, unresponsive. He was transported to Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth and was later pronounced dead. Gentleman had been in the care of Matthews at the time of his death, authorities said.
Matthews is a friend of the child’s birth mother and had been responsible for Xavier’s care since he was a baby. Matthews had also been caring for two of Xavier’s siblings as well as three of her own children, said Romankow.
Matthews was arrested after information provided to detectives was inconsistent with medical findings, according to authorities.
“Crimes against children are especially heinous,” said Romankow. “Xavier was clearly the victim of abuse and no child should have to suffer like that. Anyone who seeks to harm a child will soon understand the full force of the judicial system.”
Matthews will have a first court appearance in the coming days, according to Romankow.
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