LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A deceased 2-year-old’s mother’s boyfriend is accused of killing the child and beating his older brother with items including a belt and broom.
Las Vegas Metro police arrested Johnny Garbarino Jr., 26, on Friday, Oct. 21, on charges including first-degree murder, records the 8 News Now Investigators reviewed indicated.
Kayden Boykin, 2, was discovered unresponsive in an apartment near Maryland Parkway and Flamingo Road on Oct. 12, police said. Garbarino is identified in police documents as the child’s mother’s boyfriend. Boykin died two days later at Sunrise Hospital.
Detectives with Metro’s abuse and neglect unit noted the child had several injuries, including cuts and abrasions, internal injuries and brain swelling, police said. His cause of death was caused by blunt force injuries, the Clark County coroner’s office confirmed Wednesday.
A second child was also taken to the hospital to be checked out for “multiple, patterned scars and bruises on his body,” police said. The child said “Johnny ‘whooped’ him with a belt,’” police said. The child’s birthday is redacted in police documents, but the birth year indicates he is 4 or 5.
The child’s mother told police Boykin was healthy until mid-September when he would not eat, developed nausea, “had a distended abdomen and blood in his urine,” police said. The child was taken to the hospital where a medical determination was given, but the information is redacted in the report.
In late September, Garbarino reportedly said “he was not used to a child being as sick as [Boykin] and that “he needed a break,” police wrote in their report.
On Oct. 12, the mother said she left the apartment for a job interview. On her way back, she received a call from Garbarino, saying the child “was unresponsive and she needed to get home,” the report said. The mother told police she had not seen Garbarino physically hurt the children.
In an interview with police, Garbarino said he does not discipline the child because he is not their parent. Garbarino later told police he had spanked a child with “a belt twice for playing around and hitting the window when he was supposed to be in bed,” police said.
Police later interviewed the other child who said Garbarino had spanked him, and had hit him with a belt and a broom.
“He’s always whoppin’ me,” the child told police. “He’s always stepping on me. Johnny tells [the child] to lay on the floor and he steps on him with his foot.”
In one incident, the child’s mother returned home, finding a broken broom handle, police said. The living child told her “Johnny was ‘being a meanie’” and that “Johnny was mean,” police said.
In a follow-up interview, the child’s mother reiterated she “never knew her children were being abused,” police said. The mother added her living child never wanted her to leave him alone. She later said Garbarino had beaten her, too, before her son’s death.
“I asked [the mother] if she ever thought about calling the police and she stated she thought about it but was afraid due to Johnny threatening to kill her if she did so,” police said.
Garbarino faces charges of first-degree murder and several counts of child abuse, records show. He was being held without bail and was due in court Nov. 23.
The Clark County Department of Family Services had no prior contact with the family, a report from the Department of Children and Family Services said. The department has since opened an investigation.
If you or someone you know is living with domestic violence, you can reach out for help by contacting SafeNest. You can call or text 24/7 to a confidential hotline phone number (702) 646-4981.