A North Philadelphia man was arrested today and charged with murder, accused of killing a 20-month-old toddler with Drano drain cleaner.

Aaron Pace, 33, was babysitting Suliaman Orrell Kirkland on Feb. 2 when he doused a rag with Drano and rubbed it into the child's skin, police said.

At the time, several of Pace's relatives were in the house, on 4500 block of N. 18th Street, but did not witness the incident, said Homicide Lt. Philip Riehl. When they discovered the injured boy, one of them called the child's mother. The child's mother called for medical help, Riehl said.

Rescue workers and police arrived on the 4500 block of N. 18th Street and found the boy suffering from severe chemical burns to his upper extremities, Riehl said.

The child was rushed to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in critical condition. On Sunday, he died of his injuries.

Pace, who was being held tonight at Police Headquarters, often refered to himself as the boy's godfather, Riehl said.

"Why did he do it? Because the child, in the defendant's view, was uncooperative and crying, doing what 20-month-old children do," Riehl said.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.