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Mother and boyfriend charged with murder of Norwood toddler

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE:  April 17, 2015
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris- 610.891.4163

Media, Pa – Today Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and Chief Mark DelVecchio of Norwood Police Department announced murder charges in the death of 2-year-old Mason Hunt who died as a result of his injuries while in the care of his mother’s boyfriend on February 3, 2015.

Shannon Matthews, 30, of the 2500 block of Madison Street in Chester, mother of Mason Hunt, and Daniel Grafton, 31 of the 700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Wallingford, are both charged with murder of the third degree, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, criminal conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter and other related charges. 

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at approximately 4:40 p.m., Norwood Police along with Norwood ambulance were dispatched to a doctor’s office located at 425 Chester Pike in Norwood Borough for a medical emergency involving an unresponsive 2-year-old toddler. When police and paramedics arrived, they found the toddler cold to the touch, ashen colored and unresponsive. Once at the hospital, the toddler was pronounced dead. It was observed that there were numerous bruises on his face, head, shoulder, chest, elbow, genitals and anus as well as several deep bruises on the right and left side of the toddler’s body.

Authorities contacted the toddler’s mother, Shannon Matthews, who told them her child, Mason Hunt, had been in the custody and care of her boyfriend, Daniel Grafton, when she left for work at 10:45 a.m. that day. Shannon Matthews and her children live in an apartment located at 425 Chester Pike, above the doctor’s office where she works. Shannon Matthews told authorities that she returned to the apartment to drop off snacks for her son. She told police that she was in the apartment for approximately 2-3 minutes during which Daniel told her Mason was in the tub.

Just over an hour later after she left, Daniel Grafton rushed into the doctor's office, located below the apartment, carrying the limp body of Mason Hunt wrapped in towels, screaming that the baby was not breathing.  Dr. Patricia Sutton took the child from him and started CPR. While Dr. Sutton continued CPR, she noticed multiple bruises on the child's body, face, head, eye, abdomen and extremities.

During the investigation conducted by the Norwood Police Department and the Delaware County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Grafton told detectives that when Shannon Matthews arrived at the apartment, he took the snacks from her and placed them in the kitchen. He said during this time Matthews peeked in on Mason in the tub before returning to work.  After Shannon Mathews left, according to Grafton, he went into the bathroom and found Mason face down in the tub.

The Delaware County Children and Youth Services (CYS) were actively involved in the supervision of Mason Hunt and his brother.  This supervision was the result of an incident that occurred on January 5, 2015, at 1:00 a.m., when authorities were called to the apartment for a domestic related incident. Cpl. Christopher Kennedy of Norwood Police arrived at the apartment and found that Mason Hunt had been doused with seasoning salt on his head and eyes while in his crib.

On April 10, 2015, Delaware County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Fredric N. Hellman provided a report on the death of Mason Hunt. The report states there were innumerable contusions on the body of 2-year-old Mason Hunt, mostly over his head and face as well as the toddler’s abdomen and upper body. There were at least 120 distinct contusions counted all over the body of Mason Hunt, many of which appeared to be pinch marks. There was also blunt force trauma. Additional contusions and other injuries involved the shaft of the penis and suprapubic region, and a laceration of the toddler’s liver. 

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Hellman stated, "While my final opinions are awaiting the performance of select ancillary studies derived from the autopsy of this child, it is clear that the circumstances of this child's death are homicidal in nature."

“This is a particularly horrific case where a helpless 2-year-old boy is senselessly beaten and left for dead by his own mother and her boyfriend, who had the exclusive care and custody of this little boy,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “I would like to commend Cpl. Christopher Kennedy of the Norwood Police Department, and CID Det. Adam Sendek, Det. William Wright, and Det. David McDonald, for their work on this investigation that led to the arrest of these two individuals.”

Through investigation and interviews with Shannon Matthews and other persons, it was confirmed that the victim, Mason Hunt, was in the exclusive care of Shannon Mathews and Daniel Grafton.

Both were arraigned this morning and will be remanded to the Delaware County Prison without bail. Deputy District Attorney Michael Galantino of the Special Victims Unit will be prosecuting the case.