18-year-old accused in 4-year-old Dallas boy's death allegedly grabbed another toddler in February

Allegations from a previous crime suggest a stronger link between the man who police say kidnapped and murdered a Dallas boy and the woman who was caring for the child.

The man accused of kidnapping and killing a little boy in Dallas allegedly tried to snatch a different toddler earlier this year.

The homeowner told FOX 4 the only reason he didn't press charges at the time of the attack is because a woman who lived a few doors down asked him not to, saying Brown was suffering from a mental episode. She also told him brown sometimes stayed with her.

That woman lived at the same home where, months later, 4-year-old Cash Gernon would be taken from and allegedly killed by Brown.


According to an arrest warrant affidavit, 18-year-old Darriynn Brown forced his way into a man’s home in early February.

RELATED: Charges upgraded for 18-year-old accused of kidnapping and killing 4-year-old Dallas boy

Brown grabbed a kitchen knife and said he wasn’t going to leave until he found his girlfriend. The homeowner managed to get Brown out of the house and told him his girlfriend was not there, the police document states.

Brown then went around to the garage, kicked in a door and re-entered the home. He punched the homeowner in the head and grabbed the man’s 2-year-old granddaughter, who was asleep on the living room couch, the document states.

The teen tried to leave with the girl but the affidavit states her grandfather pulled her out of Brown’s arms. She was not hurt but "was startled and began crying when she awoke to the suspect holding her."

Brown reportedly took off out the back door after punching the homeowner a second time.

RELATED: 18-year-old accused of killing Dallas 4-year-old had previous arrest in April

The man called the police to report what happened but told detectives at the time he did not want to press charges.  He said he ran into Brown at Walmart a few weeks later and the teen said "he was sorry for breaking into his house and trying to take his grandchild," the police document states.

The man’s account of what happened next provides more insight about Cash’s abduction and murder three months later. He says he didn't initially press charges the night of the incident because the woman who was caring for Cash and lived a few doors down came over and said Brown who sometimes stayed at her home was having a mental health breakdown and needed help.

According to the arrest warrant, Dallas police officers ended up picking him up on a social service referral.

Brown was back on the streets a short time after that referral. Neighbors say they saw him periodically in the area behaving suspiciously. 

While police have not said if they know the motive for Cash’s murder, court records do describe his abduction.

The man changed his mind about pressing charges two weeks ago after Brown was arrested for breaking into a home on the same street in southwest Dallas. 

George Milner is a criminal defense attorney not associated with either case. He talked about what will likely happen next.

"Certainly they'll ask the judge that he be examined by a psychiatrist to see if, one, is he competent to stand trial, and number 2, is he mentally ill to the point it might raise an insanity defense," Milner said. "It's a horrible tragedy. It'll be interesting to know what led the man to do this."


Baby monitor video shows Brown taking Cash from his bed. The little boy’s body was later found on a nearby street.

RELATED: Camera shows 18-year-old taking Dallas 4-year-old from his bed hours before his death

On Friday, Brown was charged with burglary and injury to the elderly for the February incident

The charges against him were also upgraded to include injury to a child in connection to Cash’s death. He was already charged with kidnapping and burglary for that case.

Injury to a child is often filed when it’s not clear if murder could be proven. It’s a serious crime with a sentence as long as 99 years.

RELATED: Father of 4-year-old boy who was murdered apologizes for leaving him in Dallas