New details in a murdered Fresno toddler case

FRESNO, Calif.

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Fresno Police said 2-year-old Syre Bridges died Sunday after being beaten and sexually assaulted by his mother's live-in boyfriend.

Xavier Hawkins, known to his family as Chris, is in the Fresno County Jail tonight facing several charges, including murder.

Hawkins is being defended by his family. They told Action News detectives should investigate Syre's mother for abuse.

But Syre's family said Hawkins should be tortured the way police said Syre was.

More than a dozen family members gathered in the rain Friday evening for a vigil to remember Syre.

"I just can't understand how can a person beat a baby," said an emotional Patricia Heard, Syre's aunt.

Syre, a happy, energetic toddler, died Sunday. Autopsy results said he died from blunt force trauma to the body.

"I don't have Syre, nothing is going to replace Syre," said Patricia Cail, Syre's great-grandmother.

While this family comes to grips with Syre's killing, his accused murderer, Xavier Hawkins, is being defended by his own aunt and grandmother. They said Emiley Bridges should be investigated as well.

La Shawna Hall told action news she witnessed Bridges abuse Syre. "I guess she was getting frustrated, and she was like 'shut up Syre' and started hitting him," she said.

Bridges told Action News that is not true. She also said even though Hawkins hit her several times, she never thought he would hurt her son. "I trusted him," Bridges said. "I loved him."

That love, she said, is now replaced with hatred. "He's gonna get what he deserves in jail," Bridges said. "I hate him, he took half of me."

Bridges and her family grew up with Hawkins. Her mother, Laverne Cail, said she trusted him. That is until she heard a second hand account of bruising on Syre's face.

"I thought I really knew him, but I didn't," Cail said.

Nine attempts at checking on Syre by Child Protective Services and Fresno Police were unsuccessful.

Despite what Hawkins' family said about bridges detectives said there is no doubt they have the right person in custody for Syre's murder.

Syre's family is trying to raise money to pay for his funeral, but they have not been able to set up a memorial account.

They say Bridges plans to move out of this apartment very soon.

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