Tahlequah Man Arrested In 3-Year-Old's Death Dies Of Cancer - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tahlequah Man Arrested In 3-Year-Old's Death Dies Of Cancer

Posted: Updated:
Buford Ellison. Buford Ellison.
Jeri Sanders. Jeri Sanders.
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -

A man arrested in the death of a 3-year-old Tahlequah boy has died, according to the Cherokee County District Attorney's Office.

Assistant DA Jack Thorp said Buford Ellison died in the Tahlequah City Hospital. Ellison was arrested, along with his common law wife, Jeri Sanders, after 3-year-old Dakota Sanders was found dead at the boarding house where the couple lived.

An affidavit showed Sanders said Dakota would cry and scream as she tried to put him to bed, causing extreme stress for her and for Ellison, who had cancer. Sanders told police she gave the boy to Ellison to try to get him to sleep. She said when she returned to the room, she found Dakota lifeless, wedged face-first in a recliner under Ellison's arm and body, according to police.

Police said, instead of immediately calling 911, Sanders took Dakota to a babysitter at the rooming house. The neighbor thought he was asleep, but a couple of hours later, saw he was unresponsive and had a manager call 911.

11/19/2013 Related Story: Tahlequah Police Arrest Two In Death Of 3-Year-Old Boy

Investigators said the boy showed signs of being strangled or suffocated. It was a case that brought veteran officers to tears.

Ellison had cancer. He was initially booked into the Cherokee County jail, then taken to the Tahlequah City Hospital, Thorp said. From there, he was transferred to St. John in Tulsa, before coming back to the jail, where hospice care was set up for him. His health never improved and he died in the Tahlequah hospital Tuesday morning.

Charges had yet to be filed against Ellison or Sanders when Ellison died. Thorp said he is still working with Tahlequah authorities on the investigation.

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.


Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.