The 25-year-old mother of an infant pronounced dead in 2020 said Tuesday she “had her suspicions” when she saw bruises on the baby before his death.

Tanda Allee testified in the bench trial of 22-year-old Mateo Williams, who faces a murder charge in the death of Allee’s 4-month-old son, Elias S. Austin.

Allee said Williams played the video game Fortnite “all the time.” She said he would “throw a fit” when the WiFi made the game lag.

When Allee was questioned about bruises she found on the baby, she said “I had my suspicions. But I didn’t really know the facts.” She said she loved Williams and was jealous of his talking to other girls. Allee, who also has a daughter, said she wanted a family with Williams.

When she was asked whether she forced Williams into a step-father role, she said “Sometimes.”

Judge Peter Church is presiding over the Rock Island County Court bench trial that will continue Wednesday. In bench trials, the judge makes decisions, compared to a jury trial, in which a jury makes decisions.

Among the evidence was a recording of the 911 call Allee made about Elias on March 10, 2020. “He’s not breathing,” she told the dispatcher while she sobbed. “He’s cold.”

“I was scared to get my kids taken. I know I made some mistakes as a mother,” she said. “I was in love with Mateo.”

Allee and Williams, both of Rock Island, are being held on $2 million bond in Rock Island County Jail, according to court records.

The incident in 2020

On the morning of March 10, Rock Island Police and Emergency Services responded to the 400 block of 12th Avenue about a non-responsive 4-month old, police said.

The infant, identified as Elias S. Austin, was declared dead. It was suspected that foul play was involved when multiple fractures were found throughout the infant boy’s body, law enforcement said.

An autopsy was conducted March 11 and preliminary results concluded the cause of death was blunt-force head trauma.

The baby also had multiple skull fractures, bone fractures, and other injuries consistent with abuse, officials said.

On March 13, Allee and Williams were charged with murder. An older sibling was removed from the home and placed in foster care, police said. No injuries were found on that child.

Allee is set for a plea hearing March 24, according to court records.