RAMSEUR, N.C. -- Joshua Townsend will never hear his baby boy laugh again.
"It's one of the things I'll miss most," he said. "Such a beautiful baby boy."
Townsend's one-year-old son, Ryker Baker, died Saturday at Brenner Children's Hospital. Investigators say Ryker was the victim of suspected child abuse.
"It was devastating. Nobody wants to hold a dead baby in their hands." Townsend said. "And they shouldn't have to bury their own babies."
Investigators believe Dylon Kirkpatrick, the boyfriend of Ryker's mother, is responsible. He is in jail on a $1,000,000 bond; charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury and Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury.
"I had my suspicions about Dylon and the children being in his care. There were several times when they came to my house with bruises and they were just explained away," Townsend said.
Townsend said he tried to call social services but nothing ever came of his complaints.
"I feel like all the signs were there and they were just ignored. And if anybody is in this situation, or suspects anything like this, don't just ignore it. Speak up, speak out. This could happen to you," Townsend warned.
And while Townsend can't go back and save his son, he can work to protect Ryker's twin brother.
"Try to remember him the best that we can and honor him by making sure that his brothers have a better life," said Townsend.
UPDATE: Dylon Kirkpatrick was scheduled to make his first appearance in court Monday afternoon. His attorney appeared in his place. The case has been continued until later this month.
► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WFMY News 2 App now
Copyright 2017 WFMY