Category Archives: Death

Hot Vehicles Claim 2 AZ Children

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Hot Vehicles Claim 2 AZ Children. #VehiclesAreNotBabySitters

2 Babies die in Phoenix after being left in
hot cars

PHOENIX, AZ  –  For the second time in two days, a baby boy has died after being left for hours in a hot car.

Phoenix police and fire officials were called out at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday to a Church of God in Christ after witnesses called 911.

Fire officials arrived and pronounced 1-year-old Josiah Riggins dead.

Police:  Father forgot baby was in the car

Phoenix police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said Josiah was in the care of his father at the time of his death.

“Our initial investigation is saying that the father forgot the baby was in the car,” Fortune said.  “The child was unresponsive and had been left in the vehicle for several hours.”

Parents in TN hot car toddler death charged with felony murder

Fortune said investigators were still interviewing the parents to determine exactly what happened.  The baby had not been in the church parking lot for hours; Fortune said the car had been elsewhere before the father drove to the church.

She said she didn’t know where the car had been or why it had ended up at the church.

“Everyone is cooperative,” Fortune said.  “It’s the death of a child. It’s a tragedy.”

No arrests had been made as of Saturday night, Fortune said.

Family members began gathering at the church to support the parents shortly after it happened.

“It’s shocking, devastating, just sad,” said Zettica Mitchell, who said she was a cousin of the baby’s father.  “You feel like it’s something that could happen to anybody.”

She said she had come to the church to support the family, and mentioned hearing about the other baby that had died similarly Friday.

Second death in two days

This death came just 24 hours after 7-month-old Zane Endress died after being left in a car in northeast Phoenix for about four hours, according to Phoenix police.

The boy was in the care of his grandparents at the time, police reported.

These two are the first cases of a child dying in a hot car in Maricopa County this year.  There was at least one death last year.

Fortune reminded parents to take time to check their backseats for their children.

“We hear that parents are saying they forgot their babies in their vehicles,” she said.  “Take some time, again, to look inside your vehicle … to just avoid these tragedies.”

In October, 5-month-old Israel Sebastian Avila died after being left unattended in a car for about four hours.

The baby’s aunt and her boyfriend had been babysitting the child, according to Peoria police officials.  They dropped the baby’s mother off at work and then returned home, reporting that they forgot the baby was in the car until they got back in the car to pick the mother up from work.

TN Toddler Left In Hot Vehicle

.jpg photo of vehicular heat stroke victim
Kiara, 11-month-old, was found dead in a hot car

Officers testify in Child Abuse case

CHATTANOOGA, TN  –  The mother of a baby who died in a hot car in Chattanooga last week, stood before a judge today.

As of now, Jessica Tollett is charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, but that could change.

Jessica Tollett listened on as officers testified in her child abuse case.

Earlier this month, Tollett’s 11-month-old daughter, Kiara, was found dead in a hot car.

Police have charged the father, Travis McCullough in connection to that.  But this launched an investigation into how her three children were cared for.

The two other children were at the scene and taken to the hospital.

“It appeared they had not been bathed recently.  Now when they were brought food by the hospital, they seemed to be very protective of the food, they ate it fairly quickly,” said SVU Investigator Christopher Grafe, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

After leaving the hospital, investigators went to the couple’s home at College Hill Courts.  The judge and lawyers looked over pictures of what was found.

“Walking straight back into the room, which was the worst room in the house.  It had a couch that looked like it had been torn up, in my opinion by a dog.  From my experience it looked like feces all over the ground,” Grafe said.

This isn’t the first time Tollett and McCullough have been investigated for child abuse.  It happened back in 2012, but charges against them for that were dismissed.

A police sergeant described what the motel they were living in at that time was like.

“Once inside the room the infant was asleep on one of the mattresses.  It didn’t have any sheets on it.  There was a comforter partially covering his face.  I immediately moved that off his face.  His face was dirty, his clothes were dirty, the infant also had a heavily soiled diaper.  You could tell it hadn’t been changed in a while,” Sergeant Jamie Barrow, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Tollett’s lawyer and Prosecutors agree the charges against her should be changed.

“The highest charge that Ms. Tollett should receive in this case is attempt child neglect,” said Erinn O’Leary, a public defender.

But they disagree on what the new charge should be.

“We can say that judging by this defendant’s prior knowledge of how horribly she was keeping her one kid at that time in 2012, to how she is keeping all three of her kids and even in worse condition now that could certainly rise to serious bodily injury at some point,” prosecutor Boyd Patterson said.

The judge will make a decision about the charges on Wednesday morning.

CA Mother On Trial For Failing To Protect Son

.jpg photo of Doctor testifying in Child Abuse trial
How can any human being ignore the abuse of a Child….

Doctors testify in trial of South Valley
mother, accused of Child Abuse

VISALIA, CA  –  In the South Valley, a trial is underway for a mother charged with child abuse for failing to protect her son.

It’s been more than three years since Jimmy Horton died at the age of four, and more than four years since he was first brought to Kaweah Delta Urgent Care, unresponsive.

His mother, 33-year-old Desie Horton, is charged with felony child abuse with a special allegation of willful harm or injury resulting in jimmy’s death in February of 2014.  Her then boyfriend, Trevor Bishop, has already been convicted of second-degree murder and assault on Jimmy causing his death.

Thursday, a couple of familiar faces from Bishop’s trial took the witness stand again.

Dr. Gary Walter performed Jimmy’s autopsy, and examined his brain.

“It showed swelling, it showed evidence of an old subarachnoid hemorrhage, and it also showed a larger area of concave pressing in of the brain tissue itself where an old subdural hemorrhage had been,” Walter said.

Dr. Walter concluded the child’s cause of death to be anoxic encephalopathy due to blunt force trauma to the head.

In April, testimony revealed Trevor Bishop provided police with two explanations for Jimmy’s injuries-a slip in the bathtub, and falling after bishop tossed him in the air.

At the time, child abuse expert Dr. Frederic Bruhn said those stories would not account for Jimmy’s subdural hematoma.

“There was no evidence that Jimmy had a bleeding problem to account for either his bruises or his subdural hematoma,” Bruhn said.

Thursday, Bruhn reviewed numerous photos of Jimmy’s bruises both before and after he was hospitalized.  Some he called pattern bruises-those that conform to the shape of an object, such as a hand. He described many as unusual, suspicious, or non-accidental.

“I think there’s no question that many of these injuries are inflicted,” Bruhn said.

Horton’s trial will resume Friday afternoon.  She faces a maximum of ten years in prison if convicted of all the charges.

Child Starved To Death Fed To Pigs

.jpg photo of Child Abuse victim
Adrian Jones in 2012

Adrian Jones’s stepmom describes Child Abuse on Facebook, claims 7-year-old was
psychopath

A year before Adrian was found, Heather made a reference about feeding a person to pigs.

The stepmother who pled guilty to murdering Adrian Jones frequently posted Facebook updates complaining about the child, calling him a “psychopath,” and posting photos of the severe, abusive punishments she and her husband gave the boy.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Kansas City Star, Heather Jones was a member of a private Facebook group where she repeatedly made reference to fantasies about killing the boy, and once specifically spoke of feeding someone to pigs — which is exactly how Heather and her husband Michael Jones disposed of seven-year-old Adrian’s dead body after they starved him to death in 2015.

In late December 2014, Heather Jones reportedly wrote on Facebook: “might be the next [redacted] and have to feed some pigs a body.”

A few days earlier, on Christmas Day, Heather posted a message that was a reference to a Walking Dead episode in which a child is shot in the back of the head while looking at flowers.

That same day, Heather posted a message calling the child a psychopath:

“I have a psychopath I’m giving away for free today,” she wrote.  “He broke out last night and (expletive) my kitchen and everything I had baked up!!!  I’m beyond pissed and he’s running laps around my pool and doing push ups till I’m tired unless someone wants him!!!”

As Crime Online previously reported, Heather and Michael Jones subjected the little boy, who came to live with them in 2012, to increasingly extreme punishments, and documented much of the abuse with photos that Heather’s landlord found after accessing her computer, with Heather’s permission, after her arrest.

The little boy was forced to stand outside in the cold, stand in neck-deep dirty pool water overnight, and repeatedly restrained for extended periods of time.  According to the arrest affidavit, Heather posted photos of the abuse to the private Facebook group, including one of Aidan handcuffed to an inversion table.  Other photos showed injuries from the abuse.

The Kansas City Star report does not indicate if or how other members of the group responded to the admissions of abuse and the threats to further hurt the child.

Adrian’s body was found in November 2015, after Heather called police to report a domestic incident.  After police arrived, she told them Adrian had died and Michael Jones had fed his remains to pigs on the property.  Michael reportedly led police to the remains.

Both Heather and Michael Jones pled guilty to murder charges, and were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

Ohio 16th State To Ban Abortion At 20 Weeks

.jpg photo of Ohio Governor
Ohio Gov. John Kasich

Ohio’s 20-Week Abortion Ban Signals
More Restrictions Ahead

Ohio Gov. John Kasich may have opted for the less extreme of two strict abortion bills on his desk Tuesday — but his decision to sign a measure banning the procedure after 20 weeks signals an emboldened Republican Party that is likely to pursue related restrictions in the coming year, according to abortion rights advocates and opponents alike.

“We’ve already been seeing bans starting at 20 weeks,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.  “Certainly, Donald Trump’s election will embolden politicians at the state and federal level to push for more restrictions — including bans on abortion.”

With Kasich’s signature on Senate Bill 127, Ohio became the 16th state on Tuesday to ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.  It was the first, however, to do so since the election of Trump. Many expect it won’t be the last.

“Absolutely, we believe that health and safety standards are going to be considered in the next legislative session,” said Kristi Hamrick, spokesperson for Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group that released a report Tuesday arguing that many abortion clinics are in violation of state health and safety standards.

She said that the group was “very pleased” to see the Ohio ban become law, adding that it addresses “the deadly reality of abortion in America.”

Critics of such legislation disagree with the characterization that 20-week abortion bans — a cutoff based on the much-challenged theory that fetuses feel pain at that stage — are aimed at protecting women’s health.  At that point in a pregnancy, said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, “access to care is critically important.”

“The circumstances of each pregnancy can change,” said Copeland. “If a women has made a decision with her doctor to end a pregnancy, she needs to have access to that care.  She should not be forced to leave the state of Ohio.”

For over forty years, the Supreme Court has held that states cannot ban abortion before a fetus is viable, which happens around 24 weeks.

Yet anti-abortion groups have long championed legislation at both the state and federal level that chips away at the precedent established by Roe v. Wade.  Their hope is that with the right piece of legislation and political climate, the high court might rethink its current standard.

Twenty-week abortion bans — as opposed to stricter provisions, such as the so-called heartbeat bill which Kasich vetoed on Tuesday — appear to be targets for anti-abortion advocates looking ahead to Inauguration Day.

“By endorsing the 20-week ban in lieu of the heartbeat approach, Governor Kasich provided strong pro-life leadership to finally engage a winnable battle with the federal judiciary while saving countless babies at the same time,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of the anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life, in a statement.

I appreciate the support of Ohio Right to Life.  @ohiolife READ MORE:  https://t.co/Uz9NJFGzZw pic.twitter.com/b1eLMM4mDq
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) December 13, 2016

John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, agreed that 20-week abortion bans marked “the right direction for the [anti-abortion] movement to go in.”

“I do think it would present very dynamic challenges for the Supreme Court,” Seago told NBC News of 20-week abortion bans. “They would make [the justices] reanalyze the premise to uphold elective abortion as a legal right.”

He added that the next step in Texas, where abortion is already prohibited after 20 weeks, will be to pass a ban on a certain procedure used in second-trimester abortions that critics refer to as “dismemberment abortion.”

“The ultimate goal,” said Seago, “is to stop the injustice of elective abortion.”

The number of abortions have declined steadily during the time President Obama has been in office, from 825,564 in 2008 to 664,435 in 2013, according to the most recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures.