Mom arrested on murder charge 4 years after boy's death

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Four years after a 4-year-old boy's death, his mother was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and assaulting her child.

Alexis Dixon, 31, was arrested Monday night, according to Kern County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ray Pruitt.

"It's been a long and grueling case, but we feel that we've arrested the person responsible for Markey Dixon's murder," Pruitt said.

Markey Dixon died in April 2010. Officers were called to the family's small travel trailer for reports that the child had been injured, and the boy later died at the children's hospital in Madera.

At the time, the family said Markey fell from a table in the trailer. The mother was home with the boy when that happened.

Pruitt said detectives determined the child suffered trauma to his upper torso, and his injuries appeared suspicious.

In some court documents, the mother also goes by the name Alexis Barrow. And a report filed with the mother's arrest shows experts don't believe her statements matched the injuries to the child.

"Barrow claimed Dixon fell from a table approximately two feet high. While Barrow tried to render aid to Dixon she said his head slid against a wall and hit a pole outside the residence," the file reads. "A pathologist and a medical expert in child injuries both stated Barrow's explanation of Dixon's injuries were not consistent with his injuries. Dixon saw his physician three days before his death and he had no injuries."

Pruitt said detectives had continued to investigate the case, and turned over their report to the District Attorney's office several weeks ago. He said some difficult investigations simply take a lot of time.

"Our job is not to jump to conclusions, but to investigate the case based on the merits," Pruitt said. "To develop information, develop evidence. And once we make a determination as to whether or not we feel there's a criminal case, to come forward and submit the case to the D.A.'s office."

Back when Markey was an infant, the parents had lost custody of him, and friends say the child had been cared for by relatives.

That was in Arvin, and neighbor Juanita Mojarro said she was shocked to hear the mother was accused, but relieved someone was in jail for the child's death.

"I think that's good that she finally went in," Mojarro said. "It took a long time." Mojarro said she remembered Markey as just barely a toddler, and a very happy little boy.

She said his death four years ago had been hard on neighbors who had met him and hard on the family.

One year after Markey's death, Sheriff's Cmdr. Dennis Smithson told Eyewitness News that investigators had found evidence of ongoing abuse.

"There's significant indications that there's been a long-time history of injuries to the child," Smithson said in 2011. "There was a significant and extremely large number of scars on the child's body."

Smithson said Markey had scars on his torso, chest and abdomen, bruising to his internal organs, and burn scars on his fingers.

The neighbor who remembers the child as a toddler was shocked at that.

"That's very sad that a parent can do that," Juanita Mojarro said on Tuesday. And, she's very saddened that the mother is now accused in Markey's murder.

"I have kids of my own," she said. "How can a mother do that to your own blood, your own child?"

When the child died, the father -- Mark Dixon -- told Eyewitness News the couple had been good parents to the little boy.

Court records show the couple lost custody of Markey due to a charge of wilful cruelty to a child. But the father said that was for being under the influence, and insisted the baby was well cared for.

The father is not accused in the murder.

Pruitt said after the D.A's office reviewed the case against Alexis Dixon, an arrest warrant was issued March 24, and she was arrested March 31 at about 3:30 p.m. He didn't have details on where or how that happened.

Alexis Dixon is being held on $2 million bail, and is expected in court for her first appearance on this case on Wednesday.