PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - A Port St. Lucie man was in court Thursday morning after he was arrested on first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse charges in the death of his 2-year-old foster child, according to Master Sgt. Frank Sabol, with the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
A judge did not set a bond for Michael Beer, 47, for the murder charge.
Officials say Port St. Lucie Police and St. Lucie County Fire Rescue went to 731 SW Myakka River Trace Sunday in response to a call of an unresponsive 2-year-old child.
The child, Trysten Eli Frank Adams, was taken to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Officers and medical staff were unable to determine the cause of death at the time Adams was brought in to the hospital.
During the investigation, detectives learned that Trysten Adams was a foster child, living with his foster parents, Michelle and Michael Beer.
Police said Beer was the only adult inside the home at the time Trysten Adams required medical treatment. The only other occupant in the home was Adam's 10-month-old biological brother.
An autopsy performed on Adams ruled the death as a homicide. Medical examiners say there were lacerations to Adams' liver, along with other internal bleeding and bruising that would be consistent with blunt force trauma.
Port St. Lucie police detectives along with the United States Marshal Service Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Beer at his home and he was taken to the St. Lucie County Jail for booking.
Lt. Scott Beck says this isn't the first time Beer has been accused of hurting a child.
"There was a case in 1993 in which Mr. Beer was a caretaker of a 2-year-old child in which it was alleged he caused substantial injury to that child," says Lt. Beck.
Beck said that case was in Palm Beach County and Beer wasn't charged. Port St. Lucie Police say the 2-year-old girl suffered a skull fracture, broken leg and several bruises. Beer told investigators he was unaware of the allegation.
Beer worked as a St. Lucie County substitute teacher, according to police. He is being held at the jail in Fort Pierce.
DCF officials said Beer was investigated in the 1990s, but was not charged in that case, and there have not been any previous problems before the arrest. Beer and his wife were licensed as a foster family.
DCF said there were four children living at the Beer home; one was a biological child of he and his wife, Michelle. The deceased 2-year-old child is related to two other children that were cared for by the Beers.
The three other children living at the couple's house have been removed from the home. Michelle Beer has supervised visitation with her biological child.
The deceased 2-year-old and his siblings were removed from their biological home in 2013 by DCF due to substance abuse.