No Arrests Yet in Foster Care Death of 3-Year-Old

December 14, 2017 06:20 PM

The Eagan Police Department says no arrests have been made in the case of 3-year-old Zayden Lawson, who died from blunt force trauma to his abdomen while in the care of his foster mother. 

The incident occurred inside a townhome on Oak Ridge Circle in Eagan on June 7, 2017. 


Zayden's aunt, Semora Murrell, explains the child's biological mother, Tiyonna Lawson, lost her parental rights to Zayden and his younger brother Malakai in 2015. 

RELATED: Eagan Police Investigating 3-Year-Old's Death as Homicide

"Zayden was living with his grandmother in Milwaukee, and they took him and put him in the system in Minnesota," Murrel said. "The police assured me that this was not a child's act, and an adult murdered my 3-year-old nephew."

According to court documents, Zeporia Fortenburry, a relative of Murrell's, became the children's foster mother and was in the process of legally adopting them.  

Eagan police say the criminal investigation was turned over to the Dakota County Attorney's Office on Nov. 30, 2017. The department encourages anyone with information to contact the EPD at (651) 675-5700 or its 24-hour confidential tip line at (651) 675-5799. Tips can be anonymous, the department says.  

The Dakota County Attorney's Office says it is in the beginning stages of looking through the case. 

"We want justice for Zayden, and we want to reunite with Malachi," Semora Murrell said. 

RELATED: Eagan Police Investigate Death of 3-Year-Old Boy

Since the incident, Zayden Lawson's younger brother and Zeporia Fortenburry's biological children have been removed from her care. 

Fortenburry is set to appear in juvenile court in Dakota County on Jan. 10, 2018. She says she is currently fighting to keep parental rights of her own children following the death of Zayden Lawson. 


Cleo Greene

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