Man charged with murder after toddler’s death in St. Clair County

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:29 PM CDT
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CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (KMOV) – A man is charged with murder after a toddler’s death in St. Clair County.

Legacy Jones, 2, was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital with respiratory distress on May 4. According to police, an autopsy revealed Jones had sustained multiple internal injuries. The Cahokia Heights Police Department requested assistance from the Child Death Investigative Task Force with the investigation.

Dangelo E. Smith was later charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery in relation to Jones’ death. The criminal complaint states Smith, 26, “caused great bodily harm” to Jones that included breaking bones. His bail was set at $1 million.

The incident happened at the St. Clair County Housing Authority on Hinckley St. in Chahokia Heights. Court records show Smith did not live at the address. Police say he was associated with the child’s mother.

News 4 reached out to the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and a spokesperson confirmed they are investigating the death. They also confirm they have had prior contact with the family. They would not answer any additional questions on Legacy Jones’ case.

According to the latest report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), there were 122 child deaths in 2021 being reviewed where DCFS had prior contact with the family.

Carolyn Hubler is the executive director for the St. Clair County Children Advocacy Center. She can’t speak to this case specifically but says they work every day to put an end to child abuse and it is up to everyone to help.

“Two year olds can’t pick up the phone and say someone’s hurting me. But someone might notice a bruise or someone might notice a situation that’s looking pretty scary. People need to be able to reach out, we can’t say that’s not my problem,” said Hubler.

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