Dying father admits to killing toddler son

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  A man on his deathbed has admitted that he was responsible for the death of his toddler nearly 40 years ago.

Columbus Police officials say 18-month-old Bradley Cuturia died at the Medical Center in June of 1971 but it was never reported to police. The child had been abused before unbeknownst to police and had been treated several times before at Martin Army Hospital on Fort Benning.

Major Gene Hillhouse, who oversees the department's Major Crimes Unit, says the assault happened at the family's home in the old Mockingbird Trailer Court off of Cusseta Road. The trailer park no longer exists.

Hillhouse tells WTVM the baby was struck at least once in the face, maybe more, and died from his injuries two days after he was admitted to the Medical Center. Police say originally, it was reported that Bradley fell down one step.

In the early part of 2009, the child's mother, Cheryl Cuturia, contacted the Columbus Police Department saying she was concerned her child had been killed by his father, Thomas Cuturia. Hillhouse says the couple had moved to Wisconsin after their son's death and have been separated "for quite some years."

Cold Case detectives investigated the case for a year to determine whether or not her claims held any weight. In late 2010, they tracked 60-year-old Thomas Cuturia down to a VA Hospital in Minnesota where he was dying of cancer and went to interview him. Hillhouse says there, the dying man confessed to being behind the deadly blow that killed his young son. Police say Cuturia was weak and answered detectives by shaking his head yes or no and giving very short answers.

Thomas Cuturia has died since his confession. Cheryl Cuturia will not be prosecuted, according to police.

Hillhouse thinks cold case detectives have brought the family closure after all these years.

Thomas Cuturia's deathbed confession is one of several major developments for the Cold Case Squad in recent years.

In 2009, Michael Curry was arrested nearly 24 years after police say he killed his pregnant wife and two young children with a bush ax inside their home on Rockhurst Drive.

Prosecutors say new evidence led to Curry's arrest but will not say what exactly it is.

Chief Ricky Boren says Curry, an electrician, has been married several times since the killings and worked in the Dalton, GA school district since the 1990s as a maintenance engineer.

Michael Curry is expected to stand trial in April.

In May of 2010, Kareem Lane was arrested and charged with the 1992 stabbing death of former Muscogee County School Superintendent Doctor James Burns.

Columbus Police say Burns, 50, was asleep next to his wife inside their home on Broadway in October of 1002 when an intruder stabbed him in the back with a hunting knife.

Neighbors testified they saw a masked man leaving the scene. Police say it was Lane, who was a 17-year-old student at Shaw High School at the time.

Prosecutors say the have new DNA evidence pulled from the murder weapon linking Lane to the crime.

Lane was questioned after the fatal stabbing but was let go because according to Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren, investigators never had enough evidence to charge him until now.

He left Columbus shortly after the killing and was a plant worker and soccer coach. He was arrested in his home in Pell City, Alabama northwest of Talladega.
Officials have not shed any light on a possible motive.
Lane and Curry are being held in the Muscogee County Jail.

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