Watauga Co. sex offender charged with murder after infant found dead

- A sex offender is accused of killing a 10-month-old infant, according to the Watauga County Sheriff's Office. 

On Wednesday, March 1, 2017 deputies were called to 375 Ray Brown Road in Boone where an infant boy was found not breathing.

The infant, identified as Caius Bruner, was immediately transported to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem for treatment.

Deputies told FOX 46 Charlotte another child inside the home, a 3-year-old, was also injured but is going to be OK. 

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Watauga County Department of Social Services and the 24th Judicial District Attorney’s Office worked together on this case. 

After a thorough investigation, Boone resident Ryan Neil Hicks, 24, was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. 

Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit, Watauga County Department of Social Services, Children’s Advocacy Center of the Blue Ridge and the NC State Bureau of Investigation Computer Crimes Unit then took over to investigate Hicks involvement in the case.

On Friday, March 3, the infant was pronounced dead at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem. An autopsy was conducted on the infant but results are pending.

Hicks has now been charged with negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, sex offender using social website and second-degree murder.

He was arrested and taken before a Watauga County magistrate where he was given a $1 million bond and a court date for April 6. 

Click here to read Caius Bruner's funeral arrangements.

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