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Stepmother Charged With Assault In 3-Year-Old Roxbury Boy's Death

BOSTON (CBS) – The stepmother of a three-year-old boy in Roxbury was ordered held on $100,000 bail Tuesday in connection with his death earlier this year.

Maria Buie, 26, of Roxbury, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Roxbury District Court on a charge of  assault and battery on a child in the death of Kenai White.

White died in February, two days after police found him unresponsive in his father's home on Alpine Street.

Roxbury Kenai Whyte
Boston Police responded to Kenai Whyte's father's home on Alpine Street, Jan. 31, 2016. (WBZ-TV)

In court Tuesday afternoon, the prosecutor said an autopsy on the boy showed multiple injuries, including fractured neck vertebrae, several cuts and bruises and a laceration at the base of his groin.

Kenai Whyte.
Kenai Whyte. (Family photo)

"It just hurts my soul, I'm very very hurt, and everybody is hurt, the whole world is hurt," family friend Lisa Hernandes said outside the courtroom Tuesday.

Buie's attorney, J.W. Carney, argued there is no direct evidence she inflicted those injuries.

Buie, who turned herself into police Tuesday morning, was ordered to wear a GPS tracking bracelet if she posts bail. The boy's father showed up to court to support Buie.

"Her husband is the father of the child who passed away, and he was here supporting Maria," defense attorney J.W. Carney said. "Obviously he would never do that if he had any thought that his wife ever could have inflicted these injuries

Police are not yet calling it a homicide investigation.

In a statement announcing the arrest, they said, "The cause and manner of death have yet to be determined. This investigation remains active and ongoing."

Back in February, Kevon Young, the boy's second cousin, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 he was among the relatives who identified the boy's body for authorities.

"He was beaten up. Somebody beat him up," Young told WBZ.

"His face was not like the same. His head was huge. His face was bruised up. It was purple," he added. "His forehead was bruised. His left eye was bruised, like it didn't even look like my baby cousin. It didn't look like him at all. I couldn't really look at him."

Buie is due back in court April 28 for a probable cause hearing.

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