Stepmother charged in murder of Roxbury toddler

Nearly three months after his death, a woman has been charged with the murder of Roxbury toddler Kenai Whyte.

On Sunday, January 31, Boston Police responded to 23 Alpine St. after receiving a 911 call for a “trauma incident.” Emergency responders rushed Whyte to Boston Medical Center, where he died two days later. Whyte died of blunt force trauma to his head and body.

Kenai Whyte

Kenai Whyte

A worker from the Department of Children and Families reportedly checked on Kenai just days before, and he was deemed to be clean, well-fed and with no behavioral issues.

According to his mother, Kenai loved firetrucks, the TV show PAW Patrol, liked to eat donuts, and enjoyed being a big brother.

On March 29, 23-year-old Maria Buie, Kenai’s stepmother, was charged with assault and battery on a child in connection with Kenai’s injuries, which included a fractured vertebra in his neck, and cuts and bruises on his head and body.

On Friday, April 29, Buie was indicted in Suffolk County Superior Court on second-degree murder charges. According to police:

An extensive factual investigation by Boston Police homicide detectives developed evidence and witness statements suggesting that only Buie was alone with the child after others present in the home observed him to be healthy and uninjured.

Buie has twice previously been arrested for assault and battery, according to the Boston Globe. Kenai’s father, Dave Whyte, has been arrested on charges related to domestic violence, and multiple people had taken restraining orders out against him in the past, the Globe reports. A few months before his murder, Kenai’s mother, Ashley Young, tried to alter the custody order that gave Whyte half physical custody of Kenai, but the court kept the ruling in place.

Buie is currently being held on $100,000 cash bail stemming from the assault and battery charges.

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