DULUTH, Minn.-A 30-year-old Duluth man was charged today with second-degree murder in the death of his then fiance’s three-year-old son, marking the first homicide in Duluth in 2020.
Jordan William Carter was taken into custody Thursday for an incident that occurred Sept. 4.
According to the criminal complaint, the medical examiner’s office has ruled the death of Cameron Gordon, who was 3.5 years-old at the time, a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
On Sep. 4, at 5:35 p.m., Heather Bouchard, the mother of the child, called 911 crying that her son was unresponsive and possibly not breathing.
Her and her then fiancé, Jordan Carter, were driving to the hospital and stopped at the corner of 47th Avenue East and Colorado Street because they were worried they were not going to get to the hospital quick enough.
On a typical day, Bouchard says she would work during the day and Carter would care for the child.
On Sept. 3, during the day, the defendant reported that while he was in the main-floor kitchen prepping dinner, he told Cameron to go to his room downstairs. He says he then heard the boy fall down the stairs. Carter says he immediately went to check on him and saw the boy “bounce up like it’s no big deal.”
On Sept, 4, the complaint says Cameron was back to his normal routine. Around 4:45 p.m. that day, the defendant told Cameron to go clean his room so he could be rewarded with playing on his tablet.
Between 5:27 and 5:33 p.m., Carter missed three calls from Bouchard. During this time, the defendant reported that he went to the boy’s room and found him laying on the floor unresponsive. He shook, slapped, and splashed water on Cameron to wake him up.
Bouchard came home with dinner, and the defendant rushed out of the house with the boy’s unresponsive body telling her to get back in the car and drive to the hospital.
Cameron was unresponsive when he arrived at the Essentia Emergency Room.
The doctors who examined him noted bruising scattered down his body and said he was suffering from a traumatic brain injury. They were concerned this was non-accidental trauma and that the injuries they saw were consistent with child abuse.
Shortly after his arrival to the emergency room, Cameron was life-flighted to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
The physical examination at the Children’s Hospital noted multiple bruising areas of varying colors on Cameron’s body. These included linear bruising on the left side of the face, linear bruising behind the left ear, bruising to the left hip, bruising to the back in multiple locations, and bruising on the shins. There was hemorrhaging in the brain and retinas, as well as internal abdominal injuries. Cameron was also healing from a rib fracture that was estimated to be weeks old.
Dr. Harper, with the Midwest Children’s Resource Center, examined Cameron and assessed that his injuries were not consistent with a stairway fall. She also explained that the deep brain injury would be expected to occur shortly after the trauma happened, and that children suffering from a severe traumatic brain injury would not have a prolonged period without symptoms in the way Cameron was presenting after it was reported he fell down the stairs.
Cameron was intubated and unresponsive at the Children’s Hospital. After all life-saving measures were exhausted the decision was made to harvest Cameron’s organs for donation.
He was pronounced dead on Sept. 6.
Dr. Jackson, with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, ruled Cameron’s death a homicide by blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. He determined that his constellation of injuries were not consistent with a fall down the stairs.
Bail has been set at $500,000 without conditions, or $75,000 with conditions.