Uncle charged with murder in Mill Spring infant’s death

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, April 2, 2015


By Leah Justice


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Uncle charged with murder in Mill Spring infant’s death

By Leah Justice


The uncle of the five-month old Mill Spring infant was charged with second-degree murder in the death after the death was ruled a homicide, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill held a press conference Thursday afternoon and said the preliminary autopsy report sparked the murder investigation and arrest.

Jeremiah Lee Jackson, 31, of 23 Freedom Drive, Mill Spring, was charged Thursday afternoon with second-degree murder, according to the sheriff’s office.


Emergency responders were called to the home of 23 Freedom Drive on Monday, March 30 around 6:30 p.m. to an unresponsive infant.

The baby was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital and pronounced dead at 7:21 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) immediately began an investigation into the death, as per protocol.

The North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office in Winston Salem conducted an autopsy of the child. The preliminary findings of the autopsy revealed the infant suffered some form of blunt force trauma to the head, which resulted in the child’s death, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hill said the death has been difficult for the sheriff’s office, especially since April is child abuse prevention and awareness month. The sheriff’s office and department of social services (DSS) had just marched at Stearns Park on Wednesday for child abuse awareness.

“It’s really disturbing,” Hill said. “You think about the life of a five-month old child. This is child abuse awareness month and we spent yesterday walking to bring awareness to this.”

Hill said legislation needs to get serious about child abuse in this state and the country.

“Everybody needs to think about the life of this child,” Hill said. “He never had a chance.”

Jackson does have a past criminal history, according to the sheriff’s office. Jackson has convictions of drug charges, probation violations, a past child abuse and currently has a communicating threat charge pending in court.

“What’s disturbing is this individual had a prior record,” Hill said. “If (Jackson) would have been where he should have been, in my opinion, this child would still be alive.”

Jackson is the brother of the father of the child, according to the sheriff’s office. Jackson just moved to Polk County from Hillcrest, S.C. in January, according to sheriff reports.

Services for Cayden Berryman, who was just shy of six months old, are scheduled for Friday, April 3. Berryman had a twin brother and two sisters.

Jackson is being held in jail under a $200,000 bond. Jackson’s first appearance in Polk County Court is scheduled for Monday, April 6.