South Jersey Mother, Boyfriend Arrested In Beating Death Of 5-Year-Old Child, Prosecutor Says

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The mother of a 5-year-old child and her boyfriend have been arrested in connection with the child’s death, authorities said.

Marlena Cook, 29, of Camden, has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and hindering apprehension, according to Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer and Camden County Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez.

Saeed Bey, 27, of Camden, has been charged with first-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child, they said. 

Police were called to the 2500 block of S. 8th St. in Camden about 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday on a report of an unresponsive 5-year-old. The child was taken to an area hospital where doctors observed the victim was suffering from multiple, visible injuries, the prosecutor said. The child died from those injuries around 11:44 p.m., she said. 

On Wednesday, the Camden County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was blunt head trauma and the manner of death was homicide.

“No child should ever have to suffer at the hands of a parent — parents are supposed to be the ultimate protectors,” Mayer said. “My condolences go out to the child’s family and loved ones. We pledge to get justice for this child and for those who are grieving this unimaginable loss.”

Cook and Bey are being held at the Camden County Correctional Facility pending detention hearings.

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