2-year-old dead after apparent dog attack; Aunt says they thought boy was napping

Ja'Marr Tiller (photo provided by the family)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A two-year-old boy has died following an apparent dog attack in the unincorporated area of Mount Pleasant, an official said early Monday.

A supervisor with Charleston County Dispatch confirms the toddler was taken to the hospital around 8:30 p.m. Sunday following a 911 call. The incident happened at a home on Highway 17 in North Mount Pleasant near Highway 41.

Officials say the child was later declared dead after being taken to MUSC.

"Two family dogs, a female black lab shepherd mix and a brindle female lab and shepherd mix, were taken into custody by Animal Control," Charleston County Sheriff's Office spokesman Major Jim Brady said.

Brady says the coroner's office and Charleston County Animal Control are also investigating the incident.

The name of the victim has not yet been officially released.

Octavia Johnson, who says she is the victim's aunt, told ABC News 4 that the child's name is Ja'Marr Tiller. She says they thought Ja'Marr was sleeping and they believe he may have snuck out and wandered into the yard where the dogs were.

Johnson says her sister returned home around 8 p.m. Sunday and found the dog had attacked Ja'Marr. She ran into the house, hysterical. Johnson says the dog was still lying over the boy when the family ran outside."When my sister left, she had left him napping. We were all in the house. We were all in our rooms," Johnson said. "We're just assuming that at some point he got up and wandered out the back door."Johnson says there was a head wound and damage to the boy's ear but there weren't any open wounds other than scratches on his body.Johnson says the dogs belong to another family member that lives next door. She said even though Ja'Marr was scared of the dogs and didn't play with them because they were so much bigger than he was, the dogs have been around for over four years and have never acted violently towards people before.

She says they aren't sure which of the two dogs attacked the boy so both were taken by Charleston County.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon and Charleston County Coroner Wooten held a press conference Monday afternoon. Sheriff Cannon said they got a call Saturday night. Deputies found a two-year-old boy with multiple injuries.Sheriff Cannon said the child's aunt, uncle, grandma, and three other children were in the home. Jamaar was thought to be asleep upstairs.Sheriff Cannon said the tragic situation was similar to other occurrences in the community recently.

Sheriff Cannon says they'll bring in experts to analyze bit marks and that teeth marks can help estimate size of animal involved. They want to be certain to identify the dog or dogs involved or if they were even involved at all.Coroner Wooten said the autopsy was conducted Monday morning. She said results from lab work are still not back but that the child died from both blunt and sharp trauma and that the wounds were widely distributed.When asked about possible charges, sheriff Cannon said it was too soon to say.

It was just over a month ago that another child was killed by a dog in Ridgeville. Two-month-old Aiden McGrew was killed by a dog in his home and his father, Quintin McGrew, who was sleeping when his child was attacked, is charged with homicide by child neglect.

More details about this latest incident are expected to be released this afternoon.

Stay with ABC News 4 for the very latest.

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