Warning: This post contains mentions of child abuse.
On the morning of September 2, 2018, Largo Police received a phone call from a concerned mother, 21-year-old Charisse Stinson, who filed a missing person report concerning her 2-year-old son, Jordan Belliveau. Stinson told police that the previous day she and her son had accepted a ride from a man named Antwan in a white Toyota Camry who punched her in the mouth and repeatedly hit her across the head with a jar of marijuana until she lost consciousness. The man, she claimed, abducted Jordan. She told officers that she awoke the following morning alone in a Largo park with no sign of her child.
Stinson provided a detailed description of her son’s abductor to a Police sketch artist and a composite sketch was generated. The sketch depicted a black male appearing to be in his 20s or 30s with dreadlocks, however, police were suspicious of the 21-year-olds story, unconvinced that the man actually existed.
An Amber alert was quickly put out and a massive search was soon underway with police searching streets, dumpsters, and bodies of water in the local area.
Days later Jordan Belliveau’s body was found in a wooded area behind a sports complex on 499 Alternate Keene road and McMullen Road. The child had been beaten and displayed injuries consistent with abuse. He was dressed in shorts, a diaper and T-shirt and was wearing only one shoe.
Not long after the discovery of the toddler’s body, Lago police received a phone call from a tipster informing them that they had driven Stinson to the park where the child was discovered earlier in the week. They claimed to have dropped her off near a dumpster by a sports complex.
Despite denying harming her son, Charisse Stinson was arrested on suspicion of murder. She offered to take a lie detector test, but police denied the offer. They did not believe there was ever any man named Antwan involved in the situation and they had evidence that she had harmed her child.
Charisse Stinson was in handcuffs not long after the discovery of Jordan’s body.
The autopsy results revealed that Jordan Belliveau had multiple injuries, including a fractured leg, fresh and healed abrasions and an injury to the chin, a fractured skull, a brain haemorrhage, and bleeding beneath the scalp. Blunt force trauma was determined to be the cause of death; however, officials are unsure if the child was dead or alive at the time he was heartlessly dumped in the woods.
Police paid a visit to Stinson’s apartment where they discovered the presence of the child’s blood. She attempted to explain away the blood, as well as the old and new injuries found on the child’s body, telling them he had fell over and cut his chin while playing just before he went missing.
Investigators obtained CCTV footage from the night of September 1. According to various reports on the case the footage showed Charisse Stinson cradling the lifeless child in her arms and walking away from the residence. 30 minutes later she could be seen again, contradicting the initial story she told police about waking up the following day in a state of confusion after being knocked out by a stranger.
Another piece of CCTV footage released by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office shows Stinson walking around the Largo area alone at night and climbing around a children’s park before staggering into the reception area of a nearby hotel and collapsing in front of the reception desk. After viewing the footage police searched the area Stinson had been in that night and discovered Jordan’s green backpack in a dumpster on 1400 East Bay Drive.
When confronted with the evidence, Stinson confessed that on 31 August she had hit her 2-year-old son in the face after he injured his leg falling from his bed and began howling in pain. She explained that she was frustrated by the child’s crying, and admitted that she struck him in the face, causing him to hit his head off a wall. The injury was so forceful that it caused the toddler to seizure.
Instead of seeking medical help for the child and without knowing if he was alive or dead, Charisse Stinson dumped Jordan’s body in a nearby wooded area behind the sports complex and reported him missing to police. She fabricated a kidnapping and continued to lie through the three-day-long search for the missing child.
Jordan Belliveau had spent over a year in the foster system before being released back into the custody of his biological mother. In a news segment aired September 12, 2018 ABC action News reported that Stinson was afraid of getting evicted from her apartment, the consequences of which, she feared, would mean Jordan would move in with his father who would likely restrict visitation as the two had a turbulent relationship and arguments often resulted in domestic violence. After the murder, the DCF said in a statement to the public that removing the child may not necessarily have been the ultimate conclusion.
A deeper look into the life of Chariess Stinson revealed that she had actively evaded case workers in the weeks leading up to her son’s murder. Reports state that she had told a caseworker through tears that no matter how hard she tried, it wasn’t enough, “everything is going downhill” she said. Despite incident reports stating that neither parent was cooperative, and caseworkers unable to make contact for upwards of a month, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) claims that they could not have predicted Stinson would murder her own child. Those following the case believe Jordan Belliveau was failed by the DCF and foster system and argue there were red flags all along.
Last month Charisse Stinson, now 23-years-old, entered a disposition agreement shifting her initial first-degree murder charge to a second-degree charge on top of charges for filing a false report. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison for her crimes, two of which she has already served.
“For a while I was so angry and bitter before I came to jail and now, I'm free mentally. I may not be free physically, but I want my mom to know I am free mentally. I'm not held in bondage anymore and that is the greatest gift that God has given me, and I thank my son for that” she told the court.