Category Archives: Physical Abuse

First Hot Car Death Of 2021

.jpg photo of heat stroke in hot vehicle graphic
#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

First Hot Car Death in 2021 Confirmed
as we Approach National Heatstroke Prevention Day

April 29, 2021  –  Today it was confirmed that a North Carolina 5-month-old baby lost her little life after being left alone in a hot car last Sunday, April 25.  Preliminary findings from the autopsy report point to the cause of death being environmental hyperthermia which is consistent with statements provided by the mother.

Saturday, May 1st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day.  Though it is too late for this little girl, we need to double our efforts to focus on education and awareness regarding the dangers of hot cars.

This year, Kids and Car Safety is emphasizing that there are technological solutions to put an end to the devastation seen every year of children and animals dying excruciating deaths in hot cars.

“After more than 20 years of public education, the number of children dying in hot cars has gotten worse, not better,” stated Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars Safety. “The years 2018 and 2019 were the worst in history with a total of over 100 children that died in hot cars nationwide,” she continued.

Education and public awareness are important, but not enough.  Children will continue to die in hot cars until technological solutions that can sense the presence of a child are standard in all vehicles.

The Hot Cars Act is a federal bill that will be reintroduced in the coming weeks that requires technology that can detect the presence of a child in all new vehicles to prevent hot car injury and death.   This technology is readily available and affordable.

“The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this.  By not utilizing available technology to sense a child or pet alone inside a vehicle, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again.  The price of inaction is the life of children and that is unacceptable,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.

Nobody believes that a hot car tragedy is going to happen to them or their family until it does.  Kids and Car Safety is calling on the public to take action today by learning what to do if they see a child alone in a vehicle.  The organization is also encouraging parents to adopt several simple habits to protect their children, even if they believe this could never happen to them.

Look Before You Lock Safety Checklist
Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.

Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:

  • Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind.  To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway.  Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  • Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  • Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
  • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.

Kids and Car Safety and their safety partners will be sharing posts via social media throughout the day about how child vehicular heatstroke can be prevented with the use of technology.  They are calling on the public and media outlets to join in to support this national effort.

Kids and Car Safety has prepared posts, photos, and graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, and websites, etc. to help raise awareness about the importance of adding existing technology to vehicles to help end these predictable and preventable hot car fatalities.

Child Malnourished And Kept In Crate

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Child was malnourished and kept in a wooden crate.

Preliminary hearing held for 4 people
charged with child abuse in
Stone County, Missouri

STONE COUNTY, MO  –  A preliminary hearing was held on Tuesday for four people charged for child abuse back in November.

Dessa A. Barton, 26, W. Dalton McLendon, 26, Kathreine Kost, 56, and Richard A Hilliker, 52, pleaded not guilty to their charges.  Each face charges of endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse.

In a hearing that lasted more than three hours, the Stone County Prosecuting Attorney presented various pieces of evidence and called multiple witnesses to the stand.  Among witnesses were Stone County detectives as well as the ex-boyfriend of Dessa Barton, who is the mother of the child.

Detectives said the then 4-year-old boy suffered from extreme malnutrition.  They also said the young boy spent extended periods of time in a wooden crate constructed of pallets.

On Tuesday Stone County Prosecutor Matt Selby showed a number of photos taken during a search of the home.

Photos showed the crate itself, a make-shift door for the crate as well as blankets and children’s clothing.  During testimonies, detectives said Dalton McLendon previously denied using the crate for the child, instead they say McLendon said it was used for a dog.

Detectives who gave testimony also said McLendon admitted to spanking the boy and sometimes using a belt on him.  Among the photos shared by Selby was a photo of a belt, which detectives described as “the belt.”

“[McLendon said the child] had this problem where he would pee himself,” Stone County detective Matthew Maggard said.

Maggard also said McLendon told him he had issues trying to get the boy to play with him.

“Dalton said he tried to play with [the child] but he never wanted to play with him because he seemed like a standoff child,” Maggard said in his testimony.

Selby also presented phone records between a few of the four.  All four were present during the hearing, but a few of the defense attorneys said some of the evidence did not pertain to each individuals case.

Detectives had also testified that medical personnel told them the child’s injuries were consistent with physical abuse.  One detective said the boy was quite skinny when they saw him.

One investigator who gave testimony said Barton told detectives in an interview that she did not know how her son had hurt himself.  They said Barton said she believed her son was causing self harm.  Detectives said she told them she thought her son need more psychiatric help than medical attention.

Investigators initially received a 911 call on November 6 about the child being unresponsive in a Billings home.  Emergency crews transported the him to a Springfield hospital, then airlifted him to a Kansas City hospital.

TN Couple Plead Not Guilty At Arraignment

.jpg photo of man charged in felony abuse of 6 children
Randall Ridenour, 54, of Harriman, Tennessee,

East Tennessee couple charged with
aggravated Child Abuse, assault of
six children

HARRIMAN, TN  –  A couple in Harriman, Tennessee face a slew of aggravated abuse charges of six children, according to a grand jury indictment.

.jpg photo of man charged in felony abuse of 6 children
Michelle Ridenour, 48, of Harriman, Tennessee,

Randall Ridenour, 54, and Michelle Ridenour, 48, of Harriman have been charged with 17 counts of aggravated child abuse, seven counts of aggravated child neglect and five counts of aggravated assault.

The two plead not guilty in an arraignment hearing on Monday, October 26.

The alleged abuses involve six children, ages 6-14, and occurred between Jan. 1, 2018, and June 13 of this year.

According to the list of charges in the indictment, the victims sustained severe bruising from being whipped by a belt.

The charges also allege the couple knowingly treated and neglected the victims, “in such a manner as to inflict injury, and the abuse was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel or involved the infliction of torture to the victim.”

The five counts of aggravated assault listed involve both strangulation or attempted strangulation and the use or display of a deadly weapon, according to court documents.

They are set to appear in court on Friday, Dec. 18.

OK Man Lost Daughter In Hot Vehicle

 

.jpg photo of hot vehicles are not babysitters graphic
#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

Edmond father to not face charges for
2-year-old’s hot car death

EDMOND, OK – Authorities in Edmond say a local father will not face charges for the death of his 2-year-old daughter.

Oklahoma Child left in hot car dies

Around 6 p.m. on Aug. 17, 911 dispatchers received a frantic call from a home in reference to a child in a hot car.

The father said that his youngest daughter, 2-year-old Cecelia Chavez, had been left in the family’s SUV for four to six hours.

When investigators arrived, they found Cecelia unresponsive, Officers and Firefighters performed CPR.  She was rushed to OU Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City where she was pronounced dead.

Cecelia Chavez became the 19th Child to lost their life to heat stroke in a hot vehicle this year.

After a thorough investigation, Edmond detectives asked Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to file child neglect charges against the girl’s father, Joseph Chavez.

However, Prater declined those charges.

Officials say Chavez will not face charges and the case has been closed.

MO Man Charged With Murder And Child Abuse

.jpg photo of child and mother of missing woman
Ying Su and her granddaughter Grace, 2, stand Tuesday in front of the Boone County Courthouse.

Elledge murder and child abuse cases
involve 40 witnesses

COLUMBIA, MO  –  At a status hearing for murder suspect Joseph Elledge on Friday, the state filed motions to endorse 40 witnesses for multiple charges against the defendant.

Elledge, 24, is charged with first-degree murder as well as unrelated charges for child abuse, child endangerment and third-degree domestic assault.  He’s accused of killing his wife, Mengqi Ji, in October of 2019.

Over the course of the missing person investigation into his wife’s disappearance, police found evidence of bruising on Elledge and Ji’s daughter.  The state also argued Elledge endangered the welfare of the child by separating her from her mother.

On Friday, the state asked that 23 witnesses in the murder case and 17 in the child abuse case be endorsed.

Ji’s body has not been found.

As previously reported by the Missourian, Columbia police recently resumed the search, continuing the excavation of a levee in the Lamine River, where investigators have said they have reason to believe Ji’s body might be found.

Boone County Chief Prosecutor Dan Knight said the trial could take up to a month, because of delays related to COVID-19 and translating witness testimony.  Many of the witnesses called to testify speak Chinese.

In another layer of complication for the case, processes for selecting and impaneling jurors have become protracted because of reduced occupancy limits in courtrooms and the need for safe social distance.

No trial date has been set.  A bond hearing was scheduled for Nov. 30, and Knight said at that point the court may have a better idea when the trial will begin.