Lincoln man arrested in connection to toddler’s death

Investigation into death of 22-month-old boy
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:17 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Lincoln man arrested, initially with felony gun crimes, will remain in custody after his possible involvement in the child abuse of a 22-month-old child, that led to his death.

LPD was called to CHI St. Elizabeth Hospital on Sunday at approximately 4:20 p.m. on a report of a 22-month-old child with signs of obvious abuse. The child was life-flighted to Children’s Hospital in Omaha for a higher level of care.

Police said the child died Friday morning.

On Sunday, his mother told officers she put him down for a nap at around noon and came back to find the boy unresponsive. The mother told police she had been dating 32-year-old Joshua Tackett since January and since that time noticed numerous bruises and injuries to the boy almost daily.

Court documents go on to detail a story Tackett told the woman that a few weeks ago he passed out and fell on the ground on top of the boy.

Since then, the woman reported that the child had an injury to his leg and that he had not been able to walk, but told LPD she had not taken him to the doctor for any treatment.

The report goes on to detail that the child had fallen down the stairs three days before she took him to the hospital. Court documents said that the woman told police the boy was tired and not eating regularly during that time.

Since then, court documents show that the mother’s other children have been taken into state custody.

Lincoln Police had been conducting surveillance on Tackett since the boy was taken to the hospital Sunday.

Court documents outline that during that time Tackett’s mother, Karen Vestecka, went to his apartment near 7th and ‘G’ Streets and was seen leaving with items, including a green rifle case.

Vestecka was later stopped by police. Court documents said she told officers at that time that she was taking firearms from her son’s apartment because he is a convicted felon, and cannot legally own them.

In the green case seen being taken from Tackett’s home, court documents say that inside was a black Ruger AR .556 rifle that she told police she was going to keep at her home for the time being.

Police said Tackett was contacted at the Lancaster County Jail where he remained in custody for the weapons violations and was arrested for child abuse resulting in death.

Tackett is set to appear on those gun charges, next month.