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Dayvon Taylor, 6

Dayvon Taylor (2019-12-26)

Dayvon Taylor, a 6-year-old boy, was pronounced dead on Thursday, Dec. 26, after he was "severely beaten" in a Downey apartment, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Tyler D'Shaun Martin Brand, the boy's 23-year-old godfather, was charged with murder and assault on Dec. 30 in connection with the boy's death, according to the release.

Dayvon, a first-grader at Normandie Avenue Elementary, had been in Martin Brand's care for "several days" over the holiday break, according to the news release. The boy was pronounced dead at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach the evening of Dec. 26.

Downey Police investigators have released only a few details on the case and put a security hold on the autopsy results, meaning they can't be released to the public. 

According to jail records, Martin Brand, described as 6 feet 3 inches tall and 250 pounds, is the program supervisor for the Los Angeles Unified School District's Beyond the Bell after-school program, a district spokeswoman told The Times on Dec. 28. 

Family members told The Times that Martin Brand worked at Dayvon's school, where he was known as Coach Ty.

Dayvon's father, David Nicholson Jr., said he and the boy's mother separated four years ago. When he went to drop off presents for his son and 4-year-old daughter on Christmas Day, his daughter was home, Nicholson told The Times, but the boy's mother said Dayvon was with "Coach Ty."

The next day, Dayvon's mother called his grandparents to tell them he was at the hospital, unable to breathe, Nicholson said. When he got to the hospital, a police officer took him aside and told him Dayvon had died, The Times reported.

"My heart just fell," Nicholson said. "I couldn't breathe. No matter how many kids you got, it's a piece of you."

When he was at the hospital, Nicholson said he was not allowed to touch his son’s body, which was laced with tubes and propped up with a neck brace, “because the body was evidence and they didn’t want it tampered with,” The Times reported. 

He wasn’t allowed closer than 10 feet, but even from that distance, Nicholson said, he could see lacerations on the boy’s chest, possibly from a belt.

Nicholson said his ex made it difficult for him to visit with his children. He said social workers removed his daughter from her mother's home after Dayvon's death and put her into his care.

Family members described Dayvon as a ball of energy who was beloved by his many cousins and classmates and liked to play the online video game Fortnite. He was sharp, his father said, capable of carrying on conversations with adults.

“You wouldn’t believe he was 6 years old, how smart he is,” Nicholson said.

Martin Brand is being held in lieu of $2 million bail. His arraignment was continued to Jan. 16 in Room SEJ of the Los Angeles County Superior Court's Norwalk Courthouse. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Downey Police Det. David Van at (562) 904-2386. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. 

Photo: An after-school program coach has been charged with murder in the death of 6-year-old Dayvon Taylor, here mugging for the camera in a family photo. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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