As soldier goes to war, son, 4, beaten to death

Published May 27, 2007

CALUMET CITY, Ill. - A man beat his girlfriend's 4-year-old son to death after she left the boy in his care while she was deployed to Iraq, police said.

A judge denied bond on Saturday for Donell Parker, 23, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cameron Smith. Parker was charged Friday, a day after the boy was found dead in his bed in a Chicago suburb.

Cameron's mother, Sgt. Lavada Smith, 28, was headed back to Illinois on Friday after spending only 10 hours at her new duty station in Iraq.

She was called to active duty in April with her Army National Guard unit and was sent to Fort Benning, Ga., on May 12 in preparation for deployment, the Illinois National Guard said.