NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla., - The man accused of murdering Chevy Catalano, a two year old boy last month appeared before a judge Friday.
Damien Palmer, 22, was watching Catalano at his girlfriend's North Fort Myers home when the toddler had to be rushed to the hospital. Doctors determined Catalano had extensive bleeding and significant brain swelling not consistent with common childhood injuries.
The allegations of child abuse left neighbors shocked.
"We're all kind of surprised around here about what was going on," said Alethea Beyer, a neighhbor.
The mother, Amanda Strickland, told deputies at the time it all started when her son had been playing on a Slip n' Slide at daycare and he came home with bruises and scrapes.
The next day, her boyfriend Damien Palmer, was babysitting the boy and called the mother claiming the child appeared to be having a seizure on a trampoline.
Ten days later, the boy died from his injuries.
The Department of Children and Families is now investigating and tell 4 In Your Corner the child's family has been under investigation before by the agency. Palmer was not a part of that prior investigation. At this time, the other children in the home are under DCF care.
Palmer's attorney declined to comment Friday.
Palmer is charged with homicide and cruelty towards a child. He is being held at Lee County Jail on bond.