, Muskogee, OK

December 4, 2013

P.M. UPDATE: Cancerous man accused of killing child dies

— A man accused of killing a 3-year-old child in Tahlequah last month died Tuesday morning, according to officials at the Cherokee County Detention Center.

Buford Ellison had been hospitalized in Tahlequah since early last week. Administrators at CCDC worked with District 27 prosecutors to have Ellison moved from the jail to the hospital when Ellison’s health conditions began to deteriorate.

According to police, Ellison was suffering from the late stages of cancer.

He and his common-law wife, Jeri Danyce Sanders, were arrested last month at the Stepping Stone Rooming House and accused of murder in the death of Sanders’ child, Dakota. Detectives claim a baby sitter realized Dakota had died several hours after Sanders left the boy’s “lifeless body” in her room.

Sanders allegedly said the child had been suffering from insomnia for several weeks and would often scream, which caused stress for her and Ellison. Early on Nov. 19, Sanders left the boy with Ellison when he awoke screaming. When she returned to the room, she saw the child’s body wedged behind Ellison in a chair, according to court documents.