DUBUQUE, Iowa - The family of a two-year-old Dubuque boy who died last November is opening up after learning a murder charge has been dropped against the only suspect.
Dubuque County prosecutors dropped a first degree murder charge against Nicholas Reed on Friday in the death of Bentley Randall, 2.
The court document said there's no longer sufficient evidence to find Reed guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Although prosecutors have dropped the murder charge, Reed still faces child neglect and drug charges.
Police had said Reed was babysitting when the toddler suffered severe burns and head trauma. The child's mother and Reed were dating at the time. Police alleged Reed beat the child's head against a bathtub while he was babysitting.
Doctors had said the type of burns Bentley suffered were consistent with someone fully submerged in hot water.
Bentley's family is speaking up about the case update. They're hurt, confused and upset. They said they wanted justice for Bentley. The family hopes by telling their story, that someone will be held accountable for a life lost too soon.
The Ingles family has been waiting nearly a year for news about Bentley Randall's case. The news that came Friday wasn't what they expected.
"She told me that the murder charge just got dropped," said Bentley's Great Aunt Angela Ingles.
The man charged with the little boy's death is now free.
"I was just shocked. I was just like -- because I always just thought it would be a shut and closed case, like you know we got the man," said Bentley's Grandma Candy Ingles.
Holding a picture of her grandson gives her strength to share what she remembers of that November day. She said she was with the two-year-old early in the day.
"It was a really good day. We were putting up the Christmas tree, and he got to open up one of his Christmas toys early," Candy Ingles said.
Candy said the toddler's mother took the baby to Nick Reed's house a few hours later. When Candy last saw him, she said Bentley was happy and healthy.
Now the family is left with a hole in their heart.
"We can't say we love you Bentley anymore," Angela Ingles said.
And a hole in the story, but they're hoping soon they'll get some answers.
"None of it makes sense. It doesn't make sense at all," Candy Ingles said.
"We want answers and we want justice. We want somebody accountable to be charged with this," Angela Ingles said.
Reed's family declined an interview Sunday evening, but his attorney spoke on his behalf.
"Nick and his family are thrilled and relieved that the murder charge has been dismissed, and Nick is happy to be home with his girls and his family," said Reed's Attorney Robert Montgomery.
Montgomery said all of this is happening now because several witnesses have been thoroughly questioned over the last couple of weeks.