Second arrest made in toddler’s death, Melbourne police say

Mark Shriver arrested in connection with July 2021 death of 18-month-old

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A Palm Bay man was arrested Thursday evening on a charge of child manslaughter, according to the Melbourne Police Department.

Police said 33-year-old Mark Shriver’s arrest comes nearly a month after a Melbourne mom was also arrested in the same case in which her toddler died from narcotics poisoning in July.

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An arrest warrant was issued for Shriver on Thursday and he was arrested later that day in reference to the July death in the 1400 block of Goyer Avenue in Palm Bay, investigators said.

A previous news release shows that Melbourne officers found an 18-month-old girl unresponsive on July 28. Life-saving measures attempted by first responders proved unsuccessful and the child died at the scene, the release said.

Upon further investigation, police learned the toddler was living in a small, camper-style trailer with her 24-year-old mother, Melissa Lehman, her boyfriend and Shriver, who was identified as a friend of the couple.

“The trailer was littered with trash, drug paraphernalia to include hypodermic needles, prescription medication, loose wiring and a loaded firearm, all of which were within reach of the child,” police said in a news release. “In addition to the above hazards, rotten food and insects were prevalent throughout the trailer.”

According to investigators, on the night of the toddler’s death, Lehman is believed to have rolled on top of the child, causing her to suffocate.

On Oct. 18, the Brevard County Medical Examiner determined that cocaine poisoning and asphyxiation contributed to the toddler’s death. Medical officials also said a low body weight and cannabinoid presence were noted in the examination.

Investigators said both Lehman’s boyfriend and Shriver admitted to using drugs the night prior to the toddler’s death.

Lehman, who is currently held in the Brevard County jail on no bond, was arrested Nov. 23 after police determined Lehman did not provide a safe environment for her toddler and thus contributed to her death.

Shriver is currently held in the Brevard County jail.

A judge and a prosecutor Friday called him a danger to the community during Shriver’s first court appearance.

Donald Loughran with the state attorney’s office said Shriver has a criminal history with children.

‘’It includes cruelty to children causing excessive physical and mental pain having him put on probation for seven years,’’ the assistant state attorney said.

Management at the beachside trailer park said the camper was removed from the lot.


About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.