ARLINGTON — Tiny ink handprints and footprints were collected at the funeral home — giving the boy’s family precious evidence of his short life with them.
Homicide detectives have been collecting evidence of their own, trying to determine if the 4-month-old’s death is a crime.
Carson Crowder Williams likely suffocated on a plastic grocery bag while he was napping Nov. 28.
The child’s mother, 17, is under investigation in connection with the death. She reportedly told detectives that she heard the crinkle of a plastic bag when she put her son down for a nap in his bassinet, but failed to remove the bag, according to a search warrant made public last week in Everett District Court.
Detectives are trying to determine if the girl’s actions amount to criminal negligence. No charges have been filed.
Chris Williams, the boy’s great uncle, and his family Monday were coming to terms with news of a criminal investigation into Carson’s death.
There is anger, suspicion and tears.
The family knew that detectives had asked for the mother’s phone records, Williams said. It wasn’t until they read news reports over the weekend in The Herald that they learned why investigators were still probing the boy’s death.
They are hopeful a criminal investigation will bring them answers — and justice if someone needs to be held accountable.
“It’s one thing when it happens and it’s natural, but if someone takes him from us — that’s just so hard,” Williams said.
His nephew, 17, is Carson’s father. The infant and his mother lived with Williams and his wife after the boy was born. She and Carson moved out in September. They were living with a family friend at the time of the boy’s death.
Williams said his nephew had been fighting to get custody of his son since September.
With the help of his family, he hired an attorney. The custody battle was divisive, with both sides making accusations.
His nephew appeared to be gaining ground with every court hearing, Williams said.
“He was working his butt off, jumping through every hoop to have custody of his son,” Williams said.
His nephew is a full-time high school student and works part-time at McDonald’s. Still, he was determined to have primary custody of the boy. The teen told the courts he was concerned about his son’s well-being.
“He knew he would be a good father — he only had four months,” Williams said.
The day before he died, Carson spent the day with his dad and his family. Williams said the boy was happy and healthy.
“I even got him to smile,” Williams said. “I’m so glad I did.”
They were called the next night with the heart-breaking news.
“We didn’t have any answers,” Williams said.
The family thought maybe the boy had fallen victim to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Williams and his wife had talked to the teenage parents about the syndrome and how to avoid certain risks, such as not sleeping with the baby, or putting him to sleep on his back, instead of his stomach.
Now, they wonder what happened to Carson and why there was a plastic bag in his bassinet.
The boy’s mother allegedly told investigators that she’d removed the linens the night before and had placed a pillowcase over the mattress. She allegedly told investigators when she put Carson in the bassinet, she heard a crinkling sound. She said she concluded it was just a small plastic bag under the pillow case, according to the search warrant. She explained that there had been a sandwich bag that contained tacks in the room, and thought maybe the bag got pulled into the bassinet when she grabbed the pillowcase off of her bed.
She told detectives that she didn’t give it much thought because Carson was on his stomach and was happy, court papers said.
The girl told investigators she checked on her son more than once.
She said she called 911 after she found Carson with a plastic grocery bag covering his face. The boy wasn’t breathing. She attempted to revive him. Paramedics rushed the boy to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
On Sunday, Williams and his family gathered to remember the little boy.
Williams said he had to explain to his own children what happened to their cousin. They often accompanied Williams or his wife when they made the custody exchange, and brought Carson to his dad.
“My 9-year-old is taking it hard. She told me that the when she said ‘goodbye’ to Carson on Sunday, she didn’t mean forever,” Williams said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.