Salamanca Man Accused of Murdering Toddler

March 6, 2013 Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 8:38 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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March 6, 2013 Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 8:38 PM EDT

IRVING, NEW YORK (WKBW)- A Salamanca man is behind bars tonight, charged with 2nd degree murder.

30-year-old Justin Crouse is accused of killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old toddler early Tuesday Morning.

Police say it all stems from an incident at his girlfriend's Sulphur Springs Road home in Irving. Investigators say Crouse struck the toddler, 3-year-old Gage Seneca, with extreme force after he discovered the child awake and out of his bedroom around 1 o'clock Tuesday morning.

Crouse then allegedly placed the 3-year-old back in his room. The child's mother, grandmother and siblings were all sleeping in nearby rooms during the alleged incident. The child's mother discovered her son unresponsive around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Crouse was arrested Wednesday morning following an interview with detectives. During Crouse's arraignment, Brant Town Justice Peter Gugino charged Crouse with striking the boy in the back of his head with a closed fist, causing the toddler to strike a dresser. He plead not guilty to 2nd degree murder charges in Brant Town Court. He remains at the Erie County Holding Center without bail.