Gilbert police received a call yesterday afternoon from a man reporting that his 2-year-old son wasn't breathing. That man was 25-year-old Jonathan Cole, and the reason his son wasn't breathing, as police would later discover, is because Cole squeezed the life out of him.
According to court records obtained by New Times, Cole called police about 6 p.m. yesterday to report that his 2-year-old son, Alex, wasn't breathing.
Police responded to the Extended Suites Hotel at 2350 West Obispo Street, where the Cole family is currently living, and found the child unresponsive as his grandfather -- who lives a few doors down from the young couple at the hotel -- was performing CPR.
Cole told police the boy had been sleeping since about 3 p.m., and that he'd checked on him periodically in his bed. Cole told police that he was in the same room as the boy using the computer as the child slept.
Alex was taken to Banner Desert Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Detectives viewed Alex's body and noticed injuries on the boy consistent with abuse -- according to police, Alex had petechial hemorrhaging surrounding his eyes and on his neck and upper chest. They also saw a small abrasion on the boy's right shoulder that appeared to be a fingernail scrape.
Cole was questioned by police and rattled off a similar story to the one he told the responding officers -- that he was alone in the room with the boy using the computer when Alex just stopped breathing.
Then, out of nowhere, Cole asked detectives whether a stuffed animal could cause suffocation. When pressed about his strange question, Cole told police there was more to the story about how his son died. He then told officers he wanted to be taken to jail.
Cole then told officers how he squeezed the boy to death -- he says he held Alex against his chest with the boy's back to his chest. He says his arms were wrapped around the boy and he squeezed him until he stopped breathing.
Cole told police he squeezed the boy out of frustration because he was upset with his wife and things she'd "done to him in the past." He continued by saying he was frustrated Alex wouldn't go to sleep.
Cole says the boy struggled to get away from his homicidal father five or six times before he stopped breathing about 4:15 p.m. As we mentioned, Cole didn't call police until 6 p.m., which means he sat in the room with his dead son for nearly two hours before calling authorities or paramedics, who may have been able to save the boy had they gotten there sooner.
In addition to the confession, Cole wrote his wife a note saying "I'm sorry I squeezed Alex too hard and killed him."
Cole was booked into a Maricopa County jail on one count each of first-degree murder and child abuse. He's being held on a $350,000 bond.
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