LaReeca Rucker has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and her work has appeared in newspapers across the nation. She spent a decade as a features writer and multimedia journalist with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was also a USA TODAY contributor. She is a freelance journalist and support journalism instructor in the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media in Oxford, Mississippi.

Charge upgraded after death of baby: Jackson man held without bond at Madison County Detention Center

LaReeca Rucker
The Clarion-Ledger

A Jackson man faces a capital murder charge in connection with the death of his girlfriend's 23-month-old daughter.

Sean Arlandis Alexander, 35, of Jackson initially was charged with felony child abuse, but the charge was upgraded Wednesday after the child died.

Ridgeland police Lt. Brian Myers said Alexander is being held without bond at the Madison County Detention Center pending his initial appearance in Ridgeland Municipal Court. Authorities allege the baby was injured around 12:30 p.m.

Officers responded to a call at the University of Mississippi Medical Center after the child was brought in for treatment, Ridgeland Police Chief Jimmy Houston said.

"We sent an officer down there to begin the investigation and found out that the child was fine until her mother and mother's boyfriend got back to the apartment, and the child began to have what they thought were seizures," Houston said.

"As we got to the hospital, the doctors and emergency room personnel reported that it was a case of child abuse," he said. "The child had bruising on the rib cage, and there was bleeding from the brain."

Houston said statements were taken from the mother and Alexander, who was her boyfriend. That information led to his arrest Monday morning.

"We are doing an autopsy first thing in the morning, and we will know more," Houston said.

He said police have not released the child or mother's name because they have additional interviews to conduct. He said the investigation into exactly what happened to the child continues.

Myers said the child's injuries seem consistent with shaken baby syndrome, but authorities will wait for autopsy results to determine the cause of death.

Alexander didn't comment about what happened to the child, but said he was alone with the child, Myers said. He said the mother said she had stepped out of the apartment to remove another of her children from the car with a disability, leaving the girl alone with Alexander.

Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland said it can be difficult to determine if a child's death resulted from abuse.

"I don't believe it's going to be difficult in this case to determine the cause of death," he said.


The Journalism Portfolio of LaReeca Rucker