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Local News

Coroner: 2007 death of Navin Jones' half-brother wasn't SIDS

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WCBU/Tim Shelley
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Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood

The 2007 death of an infant from Woodford County wasn't a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

That's the belief of Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood. He reopened 3-month-old Nigel Ragon's case earlier this year after his 8-year-old half-brother, Navin Jones, died from ongoing physical abuse and neglect in Peoria. Harwood has called Jones' case one of the worst abuse cases he's ever seen.

Ragon was found unresponsive by his father at the family's house in Washburn. His death at the time was ruled natural and attributed to SIDS by the previous coroner. Harwood said modern investigative methods can pinpoint a more accurate cause of death.

35-year-old Stephanie Jones was the mother of both children. She and 40-year-old Brandon Walker are charged with Navin Jones' murder.

Ragon and Jones had different fathers.

Harwood said he is meeting with the Woodford County State's Attorney, a Woodford County sheriff's detective, an Illinois State Police crime scene investigator, and Peoria County's forensic pathologist on Monday to review the case and decide the next steps.

He said authorities will reach out to Ragon's father for an interview and doll re-enactment with his office and law enforcement.

"We do not believe this to be a SIDS case," Harwood said. "Rather, we believe we can provide a legit cause of death. The manner of death is to be determined."

The death could be ruled accidental, natural, or a homicide.

Harwood said officials on Monday will also decide if they have enough evidence and information to move forward with exhuming Ragon's remains, or if they need to do so.

Stephanie Jones and Brandon Walker remain in the Peoria County Jail on $5 million bond each. They're next due in court for a scheduling conference on June 30.

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