The stepmother of a Roxbury 3-year-old who died earlier this year turned herself in to police on Tuesday morning.
Maria Buie, 26, was ordered held on $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty.
"This is ridiculous," Buie said just before she entered the police station to turn herself in.
Her attorney's law partner told The Boston Globe that Buie expects to be exonerated.
Kenai Whyte died in February after being rushed to Boston Medical Center with traumatic injuries. He was found unresponsive inside a home on Alpine Street around 9:40 p.m. on Jan. 31. He died at a hospital two days later. His official cause of death has not been released publicly.
Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that Kenai had severe injuries when he was taken to the hospital, including fractured vertebrae in his neck, hemmoraghing, bruising to his scalp, ears and forehead and scratches down the left side of his torso.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families confirmed that it had an open case with the family at the time of Kenai's death. Gov. Charlie Baker said a DCF social worker spoke to a "care provider" for Kenai just days before he was rushed to the hospital and was told that the boy was well-fed, clean and had no behavioral issues. Baker and DCF have not identified that care provider.
Kenai's grandmother, Debra Morris-Covington, told necn in February that Kenai's father was at work and Kenai was at home with Buie at the time of his injuries. Kenai's father had legal custody.
Morris-Covington said she had complained to DCF multiple times over the years that Kenai wasn't being properly cared for but nothing was done. She said Tuesday that her grandson was "scared to death" of Buie.
DCF spokeswoman Andrea Grossman issued a statement Tuesday saying that the agency "appreciates the ongoing efforts by law enforcement and will continue its own investigation of the case in collaboration with investigators."