Authorities: Man arrested for murder of boy, 4

Elis Nelson Ortiz expected to be formally charged on Wednesday

Elis Nelson Ortiz
A 2013 mug shot of Elis Nelson Ortiz from the Kent County Correctional Facility.


GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has been arrested on murder charges in the death of a 4-year-old boy south of Grand Rapids on Tuesday.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department says emergency responders were called to a residence at a mobile home park on N. Green Meadow Street SE, in the area of Division Avenue and 60th Street in Gaines Township, around 10:45 a.m. on a report that the child wasn’t breathing.

Gaines Township, N. Green Meadow Street SE
Emergency responders were called to this home on N. Green Meadow Street SE in Gaines Township on June 13, 2017 on a report that a 4-year-old boy was not breathing. That child later died.

Emergency responders were able to resuscitate the 4-year-old. The boy was then taken to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he later died.

Later Tuesday, a 25-year-old Gaines Township man was arrested and jailed on murder charges in the case, the sheriff’s department said.

Jail records show the suspect is Elis Nelson Ortiz. The sheriff’s department said he was expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

“There was various things that I’m not ready to release yet, but various things that were concerning to us and that we later found out at the hospital which lead us to further investigate,” sheriff’s department Capt. Bruce Ivie said.

The man is the boyfriend of the 4-year-old’s mother. Authorities say he was watching seven children under the age of 11 — some of whom are his — at the home on N. Green Meadow.

“We’ve been over there multiple times … over the last probably three years. I believe several domestics, CPS-related calls,” Ivie said of the home.

Authorities have not yet provided details about the child’s cause of death, and neither the boy’s name nor the suspect’s name have been released.

Children’s Protective Services is involved in the case, though it’s not yet clear if the other children have been taken into the state’s custody.

24 Hour News 8 knocked on the door of the home on N. Green Meadow Tuesday evening, but no one appeared to be home.

Neighbors living in the mobile home park are on edge and disturbed after learning of the arrest.

“For this to happen, yeah, it shakes us because we fear everyday like with our little ones,” neighbor Lewanda Vaughn said.

Neighbors aren’t convinced Ortiz was a bad father or guardian or was violent with kids.

“When I talked to, him he never ever striked me as the kind of guy that maybe been in trouble maybe in the past. I mean, he’s got tattoos stuff like that. I do, too, have tattoo stuff. But he didn’t strike me as the kind of guy would hurt a kid,” neighbor Arik Chapman said.

–24 Hour News 8’s Sarah Hurwitz contributed to this report.