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Child advocates: Abuse levels too high in the state

The CARE Center for children is focused on preventing child abuse in Oklahoma. (KOKH/Will Maetzold)

The Oklahoma City Police Department is calling the death of two-year-old Ezekiel Jones a homicide.

Jones was first brought to Integris Baptist Medical Center last June from Children's Hospital for significant burns and then died on June 22nd from a brain bleed.

A medical examiner's report released this week rules the death a homicide.

"This case is being considered a homicide due to the medical examiner's report," Oklahoma City Police Officer Megan Morgan said. "The findings from the medical examiner's report."

This ruling follows another case the Oklahoma City Police Department is investigating as a homicide from last week. Three-week-old Willow Shelton passed away at OU Children's Hospital after being brought in with a severe head injury.

Stacy McNeiland, the CEO of the CARE Center for children, said child abuse is a major problem in Oklahoma.

"They are the ones that are growing into the system and having issues and being incarcerated and using drugs and that type of thing," McNeiland said. "We, as a state, have to invest in our children."

The CARE Center helps parents recognize child abuse and find resources that can help. They offer a class that can help parents with the tough times.

"It teaches parents what to recognize and how to figure their child out," McNeiland said. "You can see lights bulbs going off in the classroom when we say, 'Hey this behavior is normal' or 'This behavior isn't normal.'"

She said her organization is one resource, but it's also important to reach out to the Department of Human Services.

The deaths of the two children are still being investigated. If you have any information, call the Crimes against Children hotline at (405) 297-1124.

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