Claremore Daily Progress

November 20, 2013

Child's body found in Tahlequah, couple in custody

Josh Newton
CNHI

TAHLEQUAH —

A Tahlequah couple is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder after a 3-year-old boy was found dead yesterday at the Stepping Stone Rooming House.

Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins has bound over the child’s mother, Jeri Sanders, and a man said to be in a “common-law” relationship with her, Buford Ellison.

Tahlequah Police Detective Chris Boals told Dobbins he had received a call Tuesday to check on unresponsive 3-year-old boy. Boals said he observed bruising on the child’s head and chest, and elsewhere. 

Boals interviewed Sanders, who admitted to being “stressed out” because the baby had been crying for several weeks, and she couldn’t figure out why. Sanders said that at some point Tuesday morning around 3, the toddler had been crying, but eventually fell asleep, and then began crying again. 

According to Boals, Sanders explained she “got tired” of the crying and handed the boy to Ellison, saying she “couldn’t take it any more.” She then left the room. About 15 minutes later, Sanders returned to the room and could only see parts of the child’s body because he was lying “face-first” behind Ellison. 

Sanders told Boals she believed the boy was dead at that time, but she nevertheless took the lifeless body and carried it over to the baby sitter’s house, then went back to her room and lay down. Sanders told Boals she just wanted some “alone time.”