Man charged with murder of downstate Illinois toddler

Allan R. Castleberry Jr. | Macoupin County Sheriff's Office

A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 23-month-old girl who died after her head was apparently slammed against a wall of her mother’s Southern Illinois home.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that 27-year-old Allan R. Castleberry Jr. appeared in a Macoupin County courtroom this week, where Associate Judge Joshua A. Meyer set his bond at $1 million.

According to the paper, the charge indicates that Castleberry struck Gracie Ellen Rose Nance’s head against a wall on Feb. 3 at the Carlinville residence that he shared with the girl’s mother, Courtney L. Rice.

Rice discovered the girl wasn’t breathing and called 911, and the child was rushed to an area hospital.

Authorities said that Castleberry, who had been a resident of the western Illinois community of Roodhouse, was living with Nance and her daughter at the time of the incident.