Daily News, September 17, 2011, "Stepdad Gives up in Death of Tot, 3"

BY ERIK BADIA, MATTHEW LYSIAK, RHEMA THOMPSON and CHRISTINA BOYLE

A Bronx man with a checkered past surrendered to cops yesterday—hours after the death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter was ruled a homicide.

Kenneth Williams, dressed in tan jeans and a red hoodie, turned himself in at the 48th Precinct station house in Mount Hope just after 4 p.m. He was accompanied by his lawyer and didn’t speak.

His stepdaughter, India Durant, was found unconscious just before 10a.m.Wednesday in her Crotona Park East apartment.

The toddler was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she died about an hour later. The medical examiner’s office said India died of “blunt impacts of torso with internal injuries.”

Such injuries are generally consistent with a beating. Williams, also known as Billy Bob, was the only adult with India when she lost consciousness.


He immediately called 911 — an account disputed by relatives — and waited for an ambulance to arrive, according to his best friend, Brian Newton.

“He was hysterical,” Newton said of the stepdad. Williams, who has eight prior arrests for drugs and trespassing, told his pal that the girl started shaking. He thought she needed some air and put her on a chair.

The stepdad later told cops the girl fell off the chair, while he was in another room checking on a 1-year-old boy he shares with India’s mother. He heard a loud thump and came running, Williams told his friend.

India was on the floor and going into convulsions. The tot’s mother, Lauren Durant, was at work at the time.

India’s biological father, Marquis Eaddy, 28, challenged the stepdad’s version of events and believes Williams wasted crucial time before calling 911.

“He calls Lauren first and he waits for Lauren to come all the way home from work,” Eaddy said. “All the way from uptown, she had to take the train, the bus, in the meantime the girl could have been saved.”

Friends said India’s mother and Williams have been together for several years but are not married. Durant is two months pregnant with their second child.

Durant also has two daughters from a previous relationship. India’s death marked the 10th murder this year of a child 5 years old and younger.

Fourteen such kids were killed at this time last year. Most are victims of child abuse.

A spokesman for the Administration for Children’s Services said the agency is investigating the death and the remaining children in the family have been placed with relatives.

A neighbor who lives below the couple said she’s heard constant chaos from their apartment for two years.

“I wish I would have called someone,” said the neighbor, who declined to give her name. “I wish I would have said something. Maybe the little girl would still be alive.”

A makeshift memorial was set up outside the apartment building yesterday with flowers and handwritten messages saying “RIP India”and“I love you.”

“She was just so sweet and innocent, a little baby,” India’s grandmother, Sharon Eaddy, said.