'I didn't know what to do,' 2-year-old Dante Mullinix's mother testifies

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

The defense attorney for Tyree Bowie continued to question Dante Mullinix’s mother about a Facebook Messenger conversation she had with Bowie the night her 2-year-old son lost consciousness. 

On Sept. 6, 2018, Leah Mullinix went to the hospital for treatment for a migraine headache, and Dante Mullinix was in the care of Bowie.  During a conversation, Bowie said that Dante jumped out of his seat and scraped his chin and made a video at the time showing the boy's injury.

“Other than the scrape across his chin, I didn’t really see anything else,” Leah Mullinix said, under cross-examination by Bowie's attorney, Farley Holt, on Tuesday. 

An hour after that, in another video chat, Bowie said that Dante had stopped breathing. 

Dante Mullinix

Holt asked Leah Mullinix if Bowie had told her if he was trying the cookies out of this throat and giving CPR. 

“I heard about it later that Tyree was giving him CPR,” Leah Mullinix said. 

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Mullinix’s statement seemed to contradict what she had told police that night, which Holt pointed out. Holt said that she told police that Bowie had tried to get the cookies out of Dante’s mouth and was doing CPR. 

Leah Mullinix

Going back to the Facebook Messenger conversation, Leah Mullinix said that she would get one of the doctors and meet them outside. 

Holt showed hospital video where Leah Mullinix emerged from a hospital restroom where she was having the messenger conversation with Bowie 

The video showed Leah Mullinix walking through the emergency waiting room past a nurse’s triage station and a security guard as she went outside. 

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Holt asked where, during the video, she approached any medical personnel to tell them someone unresponsive was coming to the emergency room. Holt said the Leah Mullinix was outside for four minutes waiting for Bowie to bring Dante to the hospital without alerting any hospital personnel. 

“I was panicked,” Leah Mullinix said. “I didn’t know what to do.” 

Holt also said that Bowie was the one that carried the unresponsive boy into the emergency room and not his mother. 

“You were behind Mr. Bowie when he rushed the child in,” Holt stated. 

Tyree Bowie in an photo submitted by family.

Holt pointed to additional messages exchanged between Leah Mullinix and Bowie.

“He has a heartbeat,” Leah Mullinix said, during the conversation. “The one doctor went to go check.” 

It was during that time Bowie said he had been trying to give Dante mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in an attempt to revive him. 

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“I’m so sorry,” Bowie said, during the conversation. “We were going to come and surprise you. He stopped breathing. I still hear him saying ‘I’m OK.’ I’ve never been through anything like this. I’m scared.” 

Holt asked Leah Mullinix why wasn't she was more upset about what was happening with Dante. 

“I tried to bottle it up,” she said.  

Later that night, Leah Mullinix told Bowie via Messenger: “It was an accident. You are not to blame.” 

Prosecutors allege Bowie, 43, severely beat and strangled Dante, causing him to stop breathing while the two were alone together for just over an hour and a half. 

Autopsy results found Dante died from traumatic head injury coupled with strangulation and suffocation.

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The defense argued that Dante stopped breathing after a cookie lodged in his airway and Bowie tried to revive the boy. A defense medical expert supported that version with an opinion that Dante died accidentally due to brain swelling brought on by lack of oxygen and choking. 

Investigators in the case said they had found fresh injuries on the boy that weren’t there when he was treated for a genital infection a few days earlier and medical personnel noted bruising. 

Dante was flown to Hershey Medical Center Sept. 6 and he died there about nine days later.

The trial, which began Dec. 5, is expected to continue Wednesday.