Tampa Police officers arrested Austin Hamilton on August 10 for murdering his girlfriend’s 1-year-old son. On August 9 at approximately 10:56 a.m., the victim’s mother left him and his 6-year-old sibling with Hamilton inside of a room at the Motel 6 while she went to work. Later on that night, Hamilton called 9-1-1 for help when the 1 year-old victim started having trouble breathing. At approximately 8:22 p.m., officers and Tampa Fire Rescue medics arrived at the motel and found the victim laying unresponsive on a bed inside of the room. TFR transported the victim to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he later died.
During the initial investigation at the scene, the suspect claimed that he did not hit or punish the victim in anyway and that the victim was not involved in any accidents that would have caused his death. On August 10, TPD homicide detectives received the medical examiner’s report which stated that the toddler died as a result of blunt force trauma to the lower abdomen. The medical examiner ruled the victim’s death a homicide.
Detectives located the suspect and re-interviewed him about the details surrounding the child’s death. Hamilton changed his story and stated that while he was changing the victim’s diaper, the child urinated inside of the motel room. “He lost control” and hit the victim several times all over his body with a leather belt. He went on to state that while he was disciplining the child, he tried to pick the victim up, but the child fell and hit his head.
Tampa Police homicide detectives charged Hamilton with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse based on the suspect’s interview along with witness statements and evidence from the crime scene. Hamilton was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.
Hamilton is not the biological father of the victim or the 6-year-old child who was also left in his care. The 6 year old boy was not injured during the incident.