NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There was blood in Larkin Carter Carr’s vomit and stool the Friday before he died. He was also complaining about pain coming from his stomach.
Instead of taking him to a hospital, the woman in charge of caring for the 4-year-old cleaned up his bloody vomit and put his bruised body in a bath.
Three days later, Larkin died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen. An autopsy report of the 4-year-old revealed that his body was covered with between 80 and 90 bruises, and that part of his small intestine was ruptured from trauma.
Catherine Seals, the woman who was Larkin’s primary caregiver and who was in a relationship with his father, is charged with felony child neglect in connection to the 4-year-old’s death. Seals’ 14-year-old son is charged with murdering Larkin.
A felony child abuse charge against Seals was certified to a grand jury on Monday by Norfolk Circuit Court Judge M. Randolph Carlson II. The judge also nolle prossed — or dismissed for the time — another felony child neglect charge against Seals. That charge was connected to incidents that allegedly involved Larkin’s 3-year-old brother, Tyler.
Larkin died on Nov. 12 after he’d been left home alone twice with Seals’ 14-year-old son. The teenager eventually told police that on the Friday before Larkin died, he slammed a chair into the 4-year-old’s stomach, held the little boy down, and repeatedly punched him, Harris said.
Seals and Larkin’s father were out of the home on Nov. 9 when the beating allegedly happened, and again on Nov. 12 when Larkin died at the Sangamon Avenue home. The 14-year-old called his mother after Larkin began vomiting on the Friday before his death, and again when the 4-year-old became unresponsive the following Monday.
Brian Ledwell, a Norfolk paramedic who responded to the home, found Larkin laying on the couch. The 4-year-old wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. Paramedics tried to revive him, but could not restart his heart.
Ledwell testified that there were no adults present in the home when paramedics arrived.
Seals was questioned about Larkin’s death at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters by Norfolk homicide detective Matthew Nordan.
Seals told the detective that when Larkin began vomiting blood — the Friday before he died — that she gave him a bath, put a plastic bag over him like a shirt, and stayed up with him that night. She said he was lethargic over the weekend, and that she treated him with Pepto Bismol and “baby oatmeal.“ She didn’t take him to see a doctor because he didn’t have a fever, Nordan testified on Monday.
“He was not eating on his own,“ Nordan testified.
In a January interview, Seals also admitted to the detective that she’d noticed the bruising on the 4-year-old’s body.
Larkin’s autopsy showed injuries that were consistent with the teenager’s story about beating the 4-year-old a few days before he died; however, newer injuries were consistent with “the fatal blows being delivered on the day of death,“ according to the autopsy.
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.“