Minn. man faces federal murder charge in the death of his 1-year-old son, who died of blunt force trauma

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RED LAKE, Minn. -- A northwest Minnesota man who allegedly killed his 1-year-old son faces a federal murder charge, according to court documents.

A Jan. 5 criminal complaint against Gary Wayne Jackson Jr., of Redby, states that the child, identified in a separate obituary as Darren Earl Lee Jackson and referred to in the complaint as D.J., was found dead by Red Lake authorities the morning of Jan. 2. The boy was 23 months old.

According to the complaint:

Jackson woke up the victim’s uncle at about 6 a.m. Jan. 2 and asked him to watch D.J. and two other children while he “went for a ride with some friends.” The uncle, Richard Johnson, checked on the three children at about 7 a.m. and saw that they were sleeping, but checked on them again at 9 a.m. and noticed that D.J. “didn’t look right.”

After he tried to revive D.J., Johnson sent another person to a neighbor’s house to call 911, then tried calling and messaging Jackson, who did not respond.

When Red Lake ambulance personnel, tribal police and an FBI investigator arrived at the scene they found the child lying on his back on a mattress on the floor in a second-level bedroom. D.J.’s body was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, which found that the child died due to blunt force trauma to the head and thorax.

During an interview with Jackson’s mother Roselyn Johnson, investigators obtained text messages from Jackson. One message said, “i will never forgive myself, im scared, and I don’t want to go to prison, I just wanna die too its all my fault, I know im not innocent mom I hit him but would never ever want to hurt him like that I just cant live knowing its all my fault.”

The child’s mother, Nicole Buffalo, told law enforcement that she thought Jackson was responsible for D.J.’s death, as well as for previous injuries to the child, including a 2016 skull fracture.

Buffalo had also showed investigators a text from a woman saying that she had received information from one Jackson’s girlfriends, who said Jackson told her he “punched up baby cause he wouldn’t stop crying.”

After Jackson was arrested by Red Lake police on Jan. 3, he allegedly told an officer, “I think I killed my baby.” He was also recorded saying “I think I killed my baby” while sitting in a cell alone after his arrest.

During an interview with law enforcement, Jackson said he used meth on Jan. 1, and that he last saw D.J. alive at about 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. Jan. 2. During the interview, Jackson denied killing D.J. but said he was responsible for the child’s death.

The complaint accuses Jackson of killing the child with “malice aforethought,” meaning he meant to kill or hurt the child. He is scheduled to appear in court in Bemidji at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10.

Darren Jackson’s funeral is set for 1 p.m. this Wednesday at the Red Lake Community Center. A wake began Monday at the community center and will continue until the service. A community walk in support of the family is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and a candlelight vigil was set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday night.