When paramedics arrived at the Forest Glen Townhomes in Northwest Baltimore for an unresponsive child, it didn't take long for them to spot evidence that 18-month-old Zaray Gray had been beaten.
According to charging documents, bruises appeared on his forehead, neck, chin and down his right side.
He would die shortly after arriving at Sinai Hospital.
"When our investigation began, we saw visible signs of injury, but once some x-rays were done (we) saw a broken bone and then the medical examiner confirmed that the death was the result of a homicide," said Baltimore City Police Media Relations Chief T.J. Smith.
Police soon learned Zaray's mother had left him in the care of her boyfriend, 35-year-old Francois Browne, who told her he had taken the young boy to the playground where he had fallen while going down a slide.
"Often times in child abuse cases, we hear stories about the child fell out of a bed, fell off the monkey bars or what have you, but our investigation proves otherwise,” said Smith, “so whatever the excuses are, the physical evidence showed a different story."
That evidence included the multiple bruises, many of which were circular in nature, consistent with finger marks.
The autopsy also revealed multiple lacerations and tears to the toddler's bowels likely caused by multiple blows to the abdomen.
"He had custody of the child at the time this incident occurred and, again, what's even sadder is this man had a situation in the past where a child in his custody died as a result of a homicide, and this just seems like a system failure where it's just unfair to the child was put in harm's way," said Smith.
Tragically, it appears the mother returned home that night and heard the 18-month-old moaning as he lied in bed, but just assumed he was having a bad dream.
When she checked on him again more than three hours later, he was no longer breathing.
The Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office confirmed Browne faced similar charges in 2013. He was accused of beating to death his 7-month-old son, Kendall Browne on New Years Eve, marking the cities first homicide that year.
According to Maryland Case Search, Browne was found not guilty of murder. An Alford Plea was entered on a count of first degree child abuse, which resulted in a 15 year jail sentence with all but 11 years suspended, and 5 years of supervised probation upon his release. Ultimately Browne didn't complete the four years he was slated to serve behind bars.