Elmore Co. child's death upgraded to homicide; suspect arrested - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Elmore Co. child's death upgraded to homicide; suspect arrested

Joey Grizzell  (Source: Elmore County Sheriff's Dept.) Joey Grizzell (Source: Elmore County Sheriff's Dept.)

A toddler's death, reported in February is now being investigated as a homicide. It's a case that took a dramatic turn after the results of the 13-month-old's autopsy were returned Wednesday. 

Elmore County deputies say 27-year-old Joey Grizzell was keeping his girlfriend's child when he called 911 following an alleged accident with the little boy. Grizzell was arrested shortly after  investigators received the forensics report Wednesday.

Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin says Grizzell was taken into custody without incident. "Mr. Grizzell has been a free man for the last 4 months. He's no longer a free man," the sheriff said. 

Thanks to a state law requiring all deceased children 2-years-old and younger to undergo an autopsy, forensic results disproved Grizzell's initial story. The report stated the child was violently shaken and sustained severe blunt force trauma to the head. 

"There's no doubt in their [forensic's] mind it was a homicide," Sheriff Franklin said. 

Franklin says Grizzell has opened up about the incident since he's been behind bars, explaining a situation where he allegedly snapped. "His mindset, what he was dealing with that day and the child, obviously it's commonplace for a child to be upset and cry. His explanation is going to steer that direction," the sheriff said. 

The case is expected to go before a grand jury later in September. There is no word if the Elmore County District Attorney's Office plans to attempt an upgrade of the murder charge to capital murder. 

Grizzell is currently being held on $150,000 bond. 

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