Man claims 2-year-old boy who died slipped from hands while tossing child in air, police say

Alan Johnson. (Photo: Memphis Police)

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Alan Johnson. (Photo: Memphis Police)

A man was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse after a 2-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital in extremely critical condition and later died from his injuries, Memphis police said.

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Alan Johnson was taking care of the child while his mother was at work, according to a police affidavit. He told investigators he was throwing the 2-year-old up in the air and catching him, but the boy slipped on the last throw.

Johnson said he caught the 2-year-old by his ankle, then swung him to keep the child from hitting the ground. He told police he saw the boy's neck go back and noticed he was not responding, so he called police.

Hospital staff told police the injuries, which included a skull fracture, brain swelling, internal injuries and rib fractures, were not consistent with Johnson's story.

He started to give a statement to police, but then declined to cooperate with the investigation.

Johnson was initially arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse, but since those charges were filed, the boy died. Police have not said if or when additional charges will be filed.

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