Father disconsolate over toddler's death

A distraught Daniel Davis sits in front of a portrait of his murdered son Keagan, Wednesday, Feb....

A distraught Daniel Davis sits in front of a portrait of his murdered son Keagan, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.

CHRIS DOUCETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:32 PM ET

OSHAWA, Ont. — In the weeks leading up to Keagan Davis' death, allegedly at the hand of his mom's boyfriend, the toddler's father is convinced he was trying to tell him he was in danger.

At the time, while Daniel Davis, 29, reassured himself that his son's cries were normal for a 2-year-old child whose parents had recently separated.

Now with his son is gone and the man his ex was dating -- 26-year-old Michael Monckton -- sitting in a jail cell facing a second-degree murder charge, the grief-stricken dad wishes he'd taken his little boy's cries more seriously.

"I told my son I would always be there for him," Davis told the Sun Wednesday, his reddened eyes welling up as he spoke. "But this one time I wasn't there."

"He was probably thinking about me while it was happening, like if daddy walks in that door I'm going to be all right," the distraught father added. "But I wasn't there."

Monckton had been dating Davis' ex-girlfriend, Leigh-Ann Cooper, for about six months and he had two kids of his own, so Dan assumed he had experience with children.

But a couple months before Keagan's death, Davis said Keagan began screaming and crying when his visits with his dad came to an end and it was time to go home with his mom and her boyfriend.

"He would pull on my shirt and beg me not to go," he said.

"I remember one day I told him, 'Mommy and Mike are coming to get you' and he said, 'No!' "

He talked to Keagan's mom about the fits of fear and they both figured it was just what kids do when their parents split up.

"I know Leigh-Ann would never hurt him," Davis said of his ex, adding she was "a great mom."

But on Jan. 5, Keagan's lifeless body was found by paramedics in his mom's basement apartment on Southgate Dr. His mom was at work and he had been in Monckton's care that day.

Davis was still relishing the Christmas he and his son had shared together two weeks earlier when he received a devastating call that is every parent's worst nightmare.

"It was my mom telling me to go to the hospital right away because Keagan wasn't breathing," Davis said.

About 45 minutes later, a doctor broke the news that Keagan was gone.

"It broke my heart," Davis said. "A lot of emotions went through my head, like what happened and why ..."

But answers were initially few and far between.

Durham police have only said the boy suffered trauma to his body, but Davis said his son had no visible injuries.

He and Keagan's mother spent the next few hours at their son's side.

"We were just bawling our eyes out," Davis said. "I put my head on the bed beside his and I was rubbing his head, talking to him, while he was lying there dead.

"That was the hardest day of my life," he added. "I was angry that it happened, but I wasn't angry as in blaming people."

However, that changed three days later when police announced they were treating his son's death as a homicide.

While he had his suspicions following Keagan's death, Davis said he really wasn't sure what to think at first.

Monckton was also at the hospital, despite a court order prohibiting the two men from being within 200 metres of each other because of an earlier altercation.

"He came up to me and told me he was sorry, that he had done everything he could do," Davis said.

After learning Keagan had died, Dan said Monckton left the hospital. Monckton went to be interviewed by the police at Leigh-Ann's request.

"They arrested him right away," Davis said.

As far as he knows, there hadn't been any violence prior to that day.

"I still don't know what happened and that's the worst part of this," Davis said, explaining that with so few details released he can only imagine.

Keagan would have turned 3 in May, an age some kids can be difficult. But Davis said his son was "a good boy."

"He was a defenceless, innocent 2-year-old," he said.

Davis and his ex-girlfriend have since become closer, as friends, than ever before.

But he said every day is "a struggle" for both of them.

Davis can't help but see his son in every room of his parents' home, where he lives and where Keagan would stay when he visited.

"Sometimes I take out his toys and play with them because that was something we used to do together," Davis said. "Or I'll go to the cemetery and sit and talk to him there."

Davis said he hopes his anger will dissipate over time, but he'll never forget that his son was taken away from him.

"I know Keagan is watching over me and I want to do great things with my life in order to make him proud of me," Davis said. "Because he made me proud each and every day."

CHRIS.DOUCETTE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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