KENNER, LA (WVUE) - "Twenty-year veterans on the scene that I talked to on the phone that night said it's the worst case of abuse they'd ever seen," says Kenner Police Chief Mike Glaser.
When Kenner police arrived at an apartment complex on Sept. 30, they say they found 2-year-old Cole Thomas' little body in a back bedroom. He was in a diaper and T-shirt.
"The child appeared to be malnourished and had marks, scars and bruises on his face, arms and back," says Glaser.
Investigators say they also noticed ligature marks on his arm, leading police to believe he'd been tied up. Police say the child was cold to the touch and covered in bruises.
Paramedics tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.
His mother, 27-year-old Twyena Thomas, is booked with second-degree murder.
"During her statement, we learned that he might have been bound as a form of some type of punishment to keep him from touching something in the house," says Glaser.
They say Thomas also told police she'd hit the child with a slipper several times as punishment.
Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich says an autopsy revealed that Chase died from blunt force trauma to the head.
"The working diagnosis for the cause of death is a brain injury. There was bleeding between the brain and the skull," says Cvitanovich.
The coroner also said Chase was extremely malnourished.
"The child was horribly emaciated. He weighed roughly half of what you'd expect a child his age to weigh. He had multiple contusions to the head, arms and legs," says Cvitanovich.
Thomas has three other children, ages 1, 4 and 9, and police say she's currently pregnant.
It isn't the first time Thomas has been in trouble with the law.
"I do know there was a case out of Orleans Parish several years ago, and she's been in the system before," says Glaser.
Court documents show Thomas was arrested in 2011 for child desertion. Police also say child protective services was involved in the past concerning Thomas, but it's too early to know what, if any, action was taken.
Cvitanovich says it's clear the system failed Chase.
"When you see tragedy like this, you see the good in people. I've gotten a couple of calls from people saying, 'I want to see that baby get a good burial.' That's really heartening to me to hear that," says Cvitanovich.
Police say Thomas' other three children appeared to be in good health.
She remains locked up on a $600,000 bond.