The case against a 17-year-old accused of killing his foster brother over Labor Day weekend is on hold while he is evaluated by a mental health professional to see if he is competent to stand trial.
Authorities accuse Cody Metzker-Madsen, 17, of killing Dominic Elkins, 5, as the two boys played outdoors on Aug. 31 at the rural home north of Logan, Iowa, where they were staying.
Dominic's body was found in a wooded ravine. An autopsy by the Iowa State Medical Examiner determined Dominic died as a result of blunt-force head injuries and drowning.
Metzker-Madsen has pleaded not guilty and is being held at the Harrison County Jail in Logan.
District Court Judge Mark Eveloff on Friday ordered the Harrison County Sheriff's Office to take Metzker-Madsen to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville for the evaluation.
In his order, he asked that the center treat Metzker-Madsen and determine if he can understand the proceedings and the charge and assist in his own defense.
All court proceedings, except those related to Metzker-Madsen's mental status, are suspended. A hearing is scheduled for April 21 to determine if the teen is competent to go to trial.
Michael Williams, the public defender assigned to the case, requested the evaluation in a motion filed earlier Friday.
Williams stated in the motion that Metzker-Madsen's ability to help in his own defense was “compromised by certain mental health disorders.”
The teen is “mentally challenged, ” Ladena Coolman, Don Coolman's mother, has told The World-Herald.
Developmentally, Dominic and the teen were at about the same level, she said.
Dominic also had a history of behavior issues, his family has said.