'An innocent kid, gone': Mother and boyfriend charged with murder more than a year after death of 1-year-old boy

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mother and her boyfriend have been charged with murder more than a year after the death of a 1-year-old boy.

On July 16, 2017, DeAndre Cotton was put to bed by his mother at their apartment home in Pittsboro.

The following afternoon, he was dead.

Now police are looking for his mother -- 28-year-old Josalyn Upchurch.

In an exclusive interview with ABC11, the boy's father, Darius Cotton, said he had just spent time with his son a few days before.

"He was great. He was fine. He was happy," said Cotton.

According to the autopsy report, the one-year-old died from blunt force trauma to his chest and abdomen.

The report said DeAndre suffered from lacerations to his liver and bruises to his face and head.

"It's horrible, man. I don't get it. I just don't get it," Darius said. "I don't see how someone, especially a mother could allow this to happen -- more or less be involved."

Pittsboro police said Upchurch is not the only person involved. On Dec. 18, authorities charged 39-year-old Rickey Adams with first-degree murder and felony child abuse. Upchurch will also be charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse.

Darius said he's disappointed by the year-and-a-half-long police investigation.

"I just feel like it shouldn't take this long at this point," Darius said. "This is a murder. A kid. An innocent kid, gone. I want them to know and realize that they did not get away with it. And I feel like they thought they got away with it.

Adams is currently being held under no bond. He will appear in court Thursday in Chatham County.

ABC11 asked the investigator why the case lasted a year and a half. So far, the investigator has not responded.
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