YOUNGSTOWN Grandmother of baby says she suspects fall

The grandmother said no one harmed the child.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The grandmother of an 11-month-old who died Thursday in Forum Health Tod Children's Hospital said she suspects he fell on a brass door stopper.
Leroy Huff Jr., who would have had his first birthday Oct. 21, died around noon, said Jayellen Thomas, 41, of Parkview Avenue. Police reports show he suffered a crushed skull.
Thomas was baby-sitting the child for her daughter at her daughter's North Garland Avenue home Tuesday when he suffered the fatal injuries. She said an autopsy is being performed.
"It's very tragic," Thomas said through tears during a telephone interview this morning. "Nobody hurt that baby at all. We loved the boy. Nobody hurt him at all."
Under investigation: Police are investigating. The detective unit has referred calls to Police Chief Richard Lewis, who could not be reached this morning. The Trumbull County coroner also could not be reached.
Thomas said she placed the baby on a mattress and bedsprings to sleep around 1:30 p.m. She then fell asleep while watching television with the baby's brother, who will be 3 next month. She said she was baby-sitting while her daughter went to Family Dollar store to buy cooking oil and dish soap.
She heard a "boom," she said, and thought her daughter had returned, so she called but got no response. She then decided the noise must have been from a dog that was in the basement. She went back to sleep.
Around 2 p.m., she went to check on Leroy and found him lying on the floor, his lips purple. When he didn't respond to her, she called 911.
She said the child, who knows how to walk, may have gotten out of the bed and fallen against the door stopper.
Active baby: Thomas called her grandson "very active" and "just full of smiles." He was just beginning to talk. She said her daughter, Janell Thomas, 17, the child's mother, is distraught. She called her an excellent mother who was rearing two children and trying to go back to school.
"Nobody hurt that little boy," the grandmother said. "He was our world."
The baby's brother was placed in the custody of Children Services when the baby was injured. Their grandmother said she and the child's mother have not seen him since, but were hoping to visit today.
Mother's account: The mother has told police she was on her way home from the store when the grandmother came running toward her telling her the baby had been found face down on the floor and was "hurt bad, real bad." The women took a bus to St. Elizabeth Heath Center, where the baby was first taken. He was then taken Tod's, and they took another bus there.
The infant's father, Leroy Huff, 18, told police he was at his home on MLK Boulevard when the grandmother came to his home and told him the child was hurt. He, too, went to the hospital. He could not be contacted to comment this morning.