A 35-year-old man that authorities had been searching for in connection to the 2019 death of a child in Hillsborough County was arrested in North Carolina on Monday, according to deputies.
Claude Brooks emerged as a suspect following a yearlong investigation into the Dec. 30, 2019, death of the young child, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced on Feb. 3, 2021. At the time, deputies said an arrest warrant had been issued for Brooks on Jan. 11, 2021, and they asked for the public’s help in locating him.
According to an arrest affidavit, statements from Brooks and witnesses confirmed the child was in the sole care of Brooks when they were found unresponsive at a home in the 9000 block of Sunset Drive in unincorporated Hillsborough, near Tampa.
The young kid was taken to Brandon Regional Hospital and died shortly after arriving at the facility. The child’s death later was ruled a homicide, with the cause of death attributed to blunt force trauma to the head with at least three impact sites, the affidavit said.
The Sheriff’s Office has not identified the child or provided their age. According to a Sept. 1, 2021, episode of “In Pursuit With John Walsh” that featured a brief segment about Brooks, it was an 8-month-old baby.
Brooks was arrested Monday by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina. According to the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, he will be extradited to Hillsborough County to face charges of first-degree murder while engaged in aggravated child abuse and aggravated child abuse.