Steven Blue, the Raleigh man whose 2-year-old son was reported missing on Christmas Eve in 2014 then found dead in a branch of Falls Lake, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Friday morning.
The 34-year-old Blue had been charged with first-degree murder.
But as part of a plea arrangement, Blue accepted the lesser charge of second-degree murder as well as illegal disposal of a body, obstruction of justice and conspiring with the boy’s mother. He was sentenced to at least 31 more years in prison after serving two years before the hearing on Friday.
Briana Loriel Dangerfield, the mother of Tristan Matthew Blue, was charged with helping to conceal the crime.
Wake prosecutors said the boy’s father said he lost control when he could not get the child to stop crying and suffocated him with a pillow.
The toddler’s remains were found in Beaver Dam Lake, a branch of Falls Lake, two days after Blue and Dangerfield reported him missing. The state medical examiner’s office was unable to determine how Tristan died because of the poor condition of his remains.
Police charged Blue and Dangerfield on Christmas Day, before his body was found. They think he died at the apartment on Portree Place, off Buck Jones Road, before his body was cut and burned and disposed of in the lake.