‘Fatal blows’ to 4-year-old likely came minutes before his death, autopsy shows

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The autopsy of a 4-year-old boy, who died while in the care of a teenager, shows that the final blows that killed him likely came minutes before his death.

Larkin Carter Carr died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen in November.

10 On Your Side obtained a copy of Larkin’s autopsy. The autopsy shows that there were between 80 and 90 bruises covering the toddler’s body at the time of his death, and that part of his small intestine ruptured due to trauma.

A 14-year-old boy is charged with Larkin’s murder. The teenager’s mother, Catherine Seals, is charged with two counts of child abuse and neglect in connection to incidents that happened involving Larkin and his 3-year-old brother, Tyler, between July and November 2018, according to Norfolk prosecutor Jill Harris.

Larkin and Tyler were in foster care when they moved to Norfolk in July to live with their father on a trial basis. Their dad was engaged to Seals, and the couple lived together with Seals’ teenage son and her 1-year-old daughter.

Larkin was being watched by the teenager at their Sangamon Avenue home on Nov. 12. Larkin’s father and Seals were out of the home when the teenager called his mom and told her that the toddler was unresponsive. Emergency services arrived at the house around 7:30 p.m. and took Larkin to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters where the 4-year-old was pronounced dead.

Larkin was left home alone with the 14-year-old on the Friday before his death. The teenager later told police that during that time he slammed a chair into Larkin’s stomach, held the little boy down, and repeatedly punched him, Harris said.

Larkin spent the weekend before his death experiencing abdominal pain, and vomiting up brown and black matter, but no one took him to the hospital, Harris said.

But the autopsy shows that Larkin’s trauma likely wasn’t limited to the Friday before he died. The report shows some older trauma that backs up the teenager’s story about hitting Larkin on the Friday before he died, but other injuries are consistent with the fatal blows being delivered on the day of death, according to the autopsy.

A rapid accumulation of blood found in Larkin’s abdomen indicated that death could not have occurred hours after the final injuries were inflicted. A timeframe of minutes is more likely.

The injuries across Larkin’s body spanned from his head and face, to his chest, abdomen, and arms, according to the autopsy.

Some of the bruising showed grip and knuckle marks on Larkin’s body, while other injuries suggested that he may have been abused with a belt. The autopsy also revealed that there was evidence that Larkin suffered from chronic inadequate provision of food; inadequate provision of medical care; possible terminal dehydration.

Larkin’s death was the second time the toddler had been rushed to CHKD in the fall of 2018. Larkin and Tyler were taken to the hospital in September after they were injured during a strangulation incident that allegedly involved Seals’ 14-year-old son, Harris said.

At that time, the boys’ father and Seals’ teenage son told officials that Larkin and Tyler harmed each other, although their injuries were not consistent with the type of harm children of their ages could inflict on one another, Harris said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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