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2 arrested after boy died from severe child abuse injuries on Easter 2020

An arrest warrant for Foley has additional details about Amari's death and the abuse the toddler suffered.
Credit: WFAA

Story updated Thursday with details from court documents.

Two arrests have been made following the abuse of a 3-year-old who died of his injuries on Easter Sunday 2020, Fort Worth police said Wednesday.

Amari Boone was taken to the hospital on April 10, 2020 and later died on April 12, police said. Amari's grandmother told WFAA at the time that he had 10 broken fingers, two broken arms, bleeding in his brain and bruises.

Deondrick Foley faces seven felony charges of injury to a child by omission - bodily injury and Joseph Delancy faces a felony charge of injury to a child by omission-serious bodily injury. They were arrested Jan. 22.

They were both his caretakers at the time of his death, Fort Worth police said Wednesday.

RELATED: 3-year-old Fort Worth boy dies from 'severe child abuse' Easter morning

Amari's cause of death was blunt force trauma of the head and his death was ruled a homicide, Fort Worth police said.

An arrest warrant for Foley has additional details about Amari's death and the abuse the toddler suffered.  

According to documents, Amari’s biological father, Rodney Boone was a friend and coworker of Foley. He had asked Foley to take guardianship of Amari and his 1-year-old brother because the two were going to be placed into foster care.  

Foley said yes without talking to Delancy about it first, according to police.  

Amari and his brother were placed with the two suspects' home on Jan. 27, 2020. Amari died about three months later.  

During interviews with police the topic of potty-training was a consistent topic brought up between Delancy and Foley, the arrest warrant states.   

Amari had struggled with potty training ever since being placed with the two men. Foley said in the couple weeks prior to his death, Amari had been doing well and was wearing regular underwear, according to court documents.   

The potty training didn’t bother Foley as much as it did Delancy, police said.  

Delancy’s interview with police  

Delancy told police that he and Foley woke up and were getting ready to take Amari and his brother to daycare the morning of April 10.  

He said he found Amari on his back, with the crib on top of him, and saw blood coming from the toddler. However, Delancy told police he didn’t know where the blood was coming from.  

According to the arrest warrant, Delancy said he walked into Amari’s room first and threw the playpen off him, and a few seconds later Foley walked in. Delancy told the officer he didn’t think the playpen was heavy enough to injure Amari. 

Foley went to go check on Amari’s pulse, in which they heard “gargled” breathing sounds, the warrant describes. At this point, Delancy walked out of the room with Amari’s brother, leaving Amari alone in the room with Foley.  

Amari’s prior injuries 

Delancy told a police officer that Amari had injured himself in prior incidents such as jumping off the bed and running into a door frame. The man also claimed that Amari’s 1-year-old brother liked to fight and would hit Amari with a toy, his hand, or the remote, according to the arrest warrant.  

He said that Amari liked to jump off the bed and that the boy had hit his head before in prior incidents. Amari had also allegedly run into a door frame and bumped his eye prior in the weeks prior to his death, according to the report.  

Delancy and Foley said they had to call a CPS caseworker after this incident, the arrest warrant states.  

When asked if Amari was potty trained, Delancy said yes but also answered that the toddler had “some” accidents.  

Delancy said the night before Amari was taken to the hospital, the toddler had an accident on the floor and wasn’t wearing a pullup time at the time. The man said he placed Amari in bed next to this brother, who was in the playpen.  

The police officer asked Delancy if he had checked on Amari throughout the night, to which replied “no.” Delancy admitted that he was the last person to be with the toddler that night.  

Foley talks to police 

During an interview with police, Foley said Delancy struggled with anger more than him. “Um, Joseph [Delancy] is a little more… I’m calmer, um, I mean, I’m more patient generally, so um… I’m the good parent of good parents bad parent, good cop bad cop,” the warrant said.  

Foley also said that Delancy was the “disciplinarian of the house.” He said Amari would usually stand in the corner as a form of discipline.  

When an officer asked if Foley had ever seen Amari jump off the crib or bed and he said no. He then went on to share that the toddler was well-mannered, well-behaved, and quiet from his perspective. 

On the morning of April 10, Foley said he saw Delancy in the bathroom with Amari’s brother when he woke up. Foley said when he got to the end of the hallway, he noticed Amari was laying on the floor between two beds, where the playpen normally is.  

Foley said there was foam on the floor next to Amari’s mouth. Foley wiped up the foamy substance which appeared to be light pink and said there was blood in Amari’s ear.  

He said there was a wet stain on one of the beds, and on the floor. Delancy was calmer than Foley when they found the boy, the document states.  

Authorities said while processing the scene at the house Amari lived in, they found stained clothing on a dining room table in a plastic bag. Then, on the carpet of the bedroom floor when found a pinkish-red stain that appeared to be blood.  

Police worked with a reagent that reveals when bloodstains have been washed out or wiped off. Fluorescence indicates the presence of blood, according to detectives.  

Foley said they decided to take the boy to Cook’s Children Hospital himself because “it would be the fastest way,” the warrant says.  

However, police said surveillance footage from the hospital showed the two men arriving at the emergency department at 8:13 a.m., when they found Amari at 7:25 a.m. that morning.  

Authorities said that was a 48-minute difference. Investigators checked traffic records for that day and said there were no reports of crashes or delays that day.

The route they took normally is 12 to 18 minutes long, police said.  

Evidence of abuse 

Detectives said they found evidence of child abuse in Facebook in messages between Delancy and Foley. According to the arrest warrant, the messages dated back to February 2020.  

The messages included the two men talking about how to make their house not smell like “weed or smoke” prior to a caseworker visiting.  

They also discussed other injuries that Amari suffered, including a limp, swollen face, and bruises on the neck.  

Investigators said Delancy and Foley also mentioned financial issues such as, “not getting money from the boys,” and talked about potty-training accidents that Amari had.  

A search warrant conducted by police also reveal that the two men Googled several questions while they had custody of Amari, including “how to keep your foster child, how much power does cps have, how to beat cps,” are among some of the searches.  

According to officials, significant fluorescence was found on the floor of the area of the bed, below a windowsill, the window will itself, bathroom area, two-bed sheets, and the bathroom sink counter drawer.  

Another person that lived with the two men told CPS that Amari feared Delancy. The toddler told her that he would get into trouble when having potty-training accidents.  

The arrest warrant also said the woman noticed a red whip mark on the back of Amari.  

Amari Boone’s cause of death 

Amari was pronounced dead on April 12, 2020. He died from blunt force trauma of the head, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. 

According to medical officials, the toddler had suffered a skull fracture, brain bleeding, bleeding from his right ear, seizures and bruising, and hemorrhage of the eyes.  

A radiology report revealed previous injuries, including fractures to bones in his feet, arms and pelvis. All showed signs of healing, according to the court documents.

A doctor told an officer that the pelvic fracture that Amari suffered often seen when people are in car wrecks or when they’re hit with tornado debris.  

That same doctor told police that the skull fractures the toddler suffer couldn’t have occurred from falling off a bathroom counter. Instead, she said this type of massive trauma would’ve been consistent with someone falling several stories from a building or being thrown from a vehicle during a wreck.  

The Fort Worth Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit conducted an investigation into Amari’s death in conjunction with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.

The investigation is ongoing and charges may be upgraded at a later time, police said.

Last year, Child Protective Investigations said Amari was in the state's legal custody and was living with friends of their family.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, call 1-800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522, or chat online at thehotline.org.

In Tarrant County, 211 is another resource for parents. There is also the Texas COVID-19 mental health hotline, the National Child Help Hotline and Texas Youth Crisis Hotline are on stand-by with 24/7 staff.