Man sought by Fort Wayne Police in connection with 2-year-old Jocelyn Dawn Rana Belcher’s killing

Shane Allen Patton (Photo courtesy of Fort Wayne Police Department)
Crystal M. Belcher (Photo courtesy of Allen County Sheriff's Department)

Fort Wayne Police are seeking Shane Allen Patton, 30, in connection with the homicide of a 2-year-old girl whose mother is charged with neglect.

Patton is being sought in the investigation into Jocelyn Dawn Rana Belcher’s Jan. 27 death. Police were called and found the child unconscious and not breathing at 11:42 a.m. Jan. 27 in a home in the 200 block of East Butler Street. She was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.

On Friday, the Allen County Coroner’s Office determined that the girl’s death resulted from asphyxia from neck compression. The coroner ruled her death the 16th homicide in Allen County for 2018.

Patton was the boyfriend of the girl’s mother and also a caregiver for the child and her siblings ages 3, 6, and 7 years old, who were home when she was found dead. A 9-year-old sibling was taken to her father’s home late the night before, according to a court document.

The girl’s mother, Crystal M. Belcher, 28, of the 4500 block of Wilmette Street, was arrested on a warrant Thursday. Police took her to Allen County Lock-Up where she was booked on charges of neglect of a dependant, a Level 6 felony, and neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury, a Level 3 felony, according to a police report.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday in Allen Superior Court against Crystal Belcher the following is alleged to have occurred:

Police saw blood around Jocelyn Belcher’s face. Crystal Belcher told an officer her daughter did not come down with the other children for breakfast at 11 a.m. and she found the girl wrapped in a blanket in a corner of her crib. In a recording made in a police vehicle she told the officer she found the girl tangled in a blanket. She had checked on “both babies” on the in-home camera system and Shane Patton is heard saying “they were just up.”

Crystal Belcher said the other children told her that Jocelyn Belcher was tangled in the blanket and she found her daughter was blue. However, Patton’s call to 911 occurred a half-hour or more after Belcher said she found the child, and a Three Rivers Ambulance Authority medic said the girl was cold and rigor mortis had set in. A Fort Wayne Fire Department medic said Crystal Belcher said she last saw the girl at 8 a.m. and the child would get tangled in the blanket and she had done nothing wrong. Medics also said they saw lividity, a pooling of blood because the heart isn’t pumping.

Police found dirty dishes and food left out; animal feces was seen in the area where the children slept, which also had the strong odor of animals and feces. The in-home camera system did not show the room where Jocelyn Belcher and one of her sisters slept. Two dogs, two cats and a raccoon were removed from the home by Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control.

Patton refused to speak to investigators. Drug screens of both Crystal Belcher and Patton came back positive for amphetamines. Patton had said on the 911 call that he had just returned home from work. However, Belcher did not say that in her descriptions of events. Belcher also said she changed the girl’s diaper and clothes in hopes that she’d wake up before the 911 call was made.

The girl’s siblings said Patton put the girl to bed the night before and she cried. Another said when Patton would put the girl and her sibling to bed he would “smack them.” One child said Patton would wrap Jocelyn in a blanket and he would cover her head with it.

However, a pathologist looking at injuries to the girl’s neck and mouth showed the child’s death couldn’t have been caused by swaddling alone, but from a hand covering her mouth and neck. The pathologist also reported finding healed fractures to the arm that were consistent with abusive trauma. No medical records were found for treatment of those injuries. He believed the girl died 2-36 hours before the victim was found. Because witnesses saw her alive at 11 p.m., she likely died 2-13 hours before she was found.

Patton is described as 5-feet, 9 inches tall, weighs 200 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone knowing his whereabouts is asked to call the police non-emergency line at 260-427-1222 to report his location.

RELATED STORY: Death of toddler still under investigation by Fort Wayne Police