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Baltimore man charged with murder of 5-month-old son after boy discovered with injuries all over body, police say

Police are looking for a 31-year-old Baltimore man who has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 5-month-old son, police said Monday.

Officers discovered the boy unconscious in the family's home Friday morning with "old and new injuries" all over his body, police said. He was taken from the home in the 1600 block of N. Smallwood St., in the city's Coppin Heights neighborhood, to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, said the case involved "an absolutely disturbing and despicable, inhumane act of violence," and called on the public to send in tips to help police find and arrest the father, Perry Nelson-Johnson.

Smith said Nelson-Johnson, who is blind and uses a walking stick, is believed to have used "a blunt object" — possibly his walking stick — to inflict the injuries on the child. The boy's injuries included "abrasions to his face, scrapes on his face, older injuries and scratches to the head and the neck, back, almost head-to-toe type injuries," Smith said.

The boy, Emmanuel Johnson, was born Dec. 26. His death was ruled a homicide by "multiple blunt force trauma to the head" by a medical examiner, police said.

Nelson-Johnson is wanted on first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, use of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, and multiple child-abuse charges, police said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Warrant Apprehension Task Force at 410-637-8970.

Nelson-Johnson initially told police the boy had "rolled off the bed and banged his head," but that explanation has been ruled out based on the autopsy results, Smith said.

"He really should just turn himself in," Smith said.

Nelson-Johnson did not have an attorney listed in online court records and could not be reached for comment Monday.

The child's death comes just two weeks after a Baltimore child care provider was charged in the killing of an 8-month-old girl, who was found unresponsive at her daycare center. Video from the center allegedly showed provider Leah Walden "violently snatching Reese Bowman out of the crib with one arm, swinging at her as if she was slapping her, and placing pillows over the baby's face," said Criminal Investigations Chief Stanley Brandford.

Smith lamented the deaths of the children Monday. He also said that Nelson-Johnson and the child's mother have other children who are not in their custody, and said the Police Department is looking into whether there were any signs before Friday that the child may have been in danger.

"We're deeply frustrated because, again, we're left to pick up the pieces," he said.

Baltimore is experiencing records levels of violence this year. So far, there have been 153 homicides in the city in 2017.

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