A New Jersey man was arrested for murdering his then-fiancée’s two-year-old son in North Carolina, only days before he went on to marry to child’s mother, officials said.
Jagger Jost, 21, is accused of killing little Vernon Gaylord Sylver Jr., who authorities say was fatally punched by his soon-to-be step dad about eight months ago.
U.S. Marshals captured Jost without incident about 1:45 p.m. on Monday in his hometown of Atlantic City, where he was staying with someone he knew, New Jersey State Police said.
Jost and the little boy’s mom, Tiffany, were married on May 22, six days after the tot was killed.
She maintains that her imprisoned husband had nothing to do with the death of her son, saying that the toddler’s death— which was caused by blunt-force trauma to the abdomen— was from a fall.
“My husband is innocent and I’m gonna prove it,” she wrote on Facebook late Wednesday.
Jost reportedly told his wife that little Vernon had landed on his stomach while falling off bricks on May 13, 2015. Two days later, he began vomiting and was pronounced dead on May 16.
The couple was so distraught by the child’s death that they decided to forgo a large wedding and get married right away, Tiffany, 23, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
After a nearly year-long search for Jost, he was arrested and charged with murder and felony child abuse, officials said.
Detective Ben Mitchell with North Carolina’s Greensboro Police Department told the Inquirer no one else was facing charges in the case.
Little Vernon was remembered in an obituary written at the time of his death as “a very energetic child” who loved his pet hamster, Finn, who was named after a character on one of his favorite shows, ‘Adventure Time.’
Jost was being held Thursday at the Atlantic County Jail. Authorities are expected to extradite him to North Carolina, where the boy died.