The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 24, 2009

Joplin police seeking help in homicide case

From staff reports

Joplin police are asking for the public’s help in hopes of apprehending a man who is wanted in connection with the death of a toddler.

Police said Thursday that they are seeking information that could lead to the arrest of Byron D. Lang, 20, formerly of Joplin.

Lang was charged in March with second-degree murder in the September 2008 death of 2-year-old Kyler DeShawn Jones.

Police said Lang was out on $100,000 bail and is thought to have fled to Texas, but they believe he might be in Joplin for the Christmas holiday.

In October, Lang failed to show up for a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court, and a warrant for his arrest was issued. His bond was raised to $1 million.

The toddler was taken unconscious and not breathing on Sept. 2, 2008, to St. John’s Express Care on Range Line Road by Lang and was pronounced dead a short time later in the emergency room at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, according to authorities.

Lang told the nursing staff at the urgent-care clinic that the boy simply collapsed and started having problems breathing while in his care, according to police. When the child was disrobed for treatment, extensive bruising was noticed on his abdomen, police said.

Lang was charged in March after a six-month investigation into the boy’s death. The child’s mother, Meagan Jones, had left the boy in the care of Lang and his girlfriend a few days before the death. The mother reportedly had left her son in their care on previous occasions for as long as a week. The boy’s father, Terry Miller, was working out of state at the time.

At a preliminary hearing in August, a deputy Boone County medical examiner, who conducted a second autopsy on the child, testified that Kyler had 21 soft-tissue injuries to his body, including three on top of his head. The medical examiner said the injuries were not consistent with an accident.

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