Man Charged in Motel Beating Death of Toddler
On Tuesday night, a boy just a few weeks shy of his second birthday was found beaten to death in the motel room where his family lived. Police say Ellijah Burger died of blunt force trauma. Neighbors say he had marks all over his body. Police have charged 22-year-old Andre Earl Hampton with murder. His relationship to the boy is unclear. The motel that Elijah knew as home has been the scene of a lot of violence in the last year. The Aarcs Residence Suites in South Charlotte has a lot of people that stay for months-on-end. They pay rates that start at $169 a week. Nita Edge has been doing it for three years. "This is my home, even though it's a motel room," says Edge. The standard bed and drawers says motel, but everything else from the neat arrangement of show pillows to the potted plants and curtains says home. Outside her room, Edge isn't so comfortable. She says robberies and assaults are common occurrences. But the last month has been especially rough. A SWAT team descended on the place in October and arrested two men police say were connected to a series of armed robberies. And then two nights ago, there was Ellijah's murder. "All these incidents that are happening down here, I'm trying to come up with a plan to get out of here," says Edge. Sergeant Todd Lontz with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says officers are regularly called to the motel. "During the last 12-month time frame, we've had approximately 441 calls for service at that address, ranging from aggravated assaults to larcenies, robberies and, of course, yesterday's homicide," says Lontz. Lontz adds the Aarcs Residence Suites isn't considered a nuisance motel, but the problems there have raised a good deal of concern. "This is a location we will definitely have our eyes on for some time. We're going to keep close tabs what's going on on the property as well as around the property," says Lontz. A woman who identified herself as the motel's manager refused to comment. She said the owner is in New Jersey and she refused to give his number. As for Edge, she's trying to save enough money for a deposit on an apartment. "What kind of place do you want to live in, be around people that you can't trust, where you have to feel like a prisoner in your own home?"