Man charged with murder, Child Abuse in Midland toddler’s death
MIDLAND, MI – A Kalamazoo County man is charged with murder in connection with the death of a Midland toddler.
Damian A. Garrett, 23, of Augusta, on Friday, Sept. 20, appeared in Midland County District Court for arraignment on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse. Both are life offenses, with the former mandating no possible parole if convicted.
The arraigning judge denied granting Garrett bond.
Police had arrested Garrett in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 19. Two days prior, at about 3:05 p.m., police responded to an apartment in the 5200 block of Hedgewood Drive for a report of a child not breathing. They arrived to find emergency medical responders in the process of rendering CPR to an unresponsive girl.
The 21-month-old girl, identified by Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks as Skylar N. Papple, was transported to Mid-Michigan Medical Center where staff pronounced her dead.
Garrett was in a dating relationship with the child’s mother, police have said.
Brooks said Skylar died due to drowning and also suffered some secondary head trauma. Garrett had been home alone with Skylar, giving her a bath, Brooks said.
At some point, he ran to neighbors’ homes seeking help, then flagged down a UPS driver, who called 911, Brooks said.
Garrett is to appear for a preliminary examination at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
Recalled Sleepers Linked To Infant Deaths Are Still Being Used in Daycare Centers
Earlier this year, Fischer-Price issued a recall of nearly five million Rock ‘n Play sleepers after the popular product was linked to at least 30 infant deaths. Not long after, Kids II recalled 700,000 of its own inclined sleepers due to similar concerns.
Several months later, one mom was shocked to find that these dangerous sleepers are still being used in some daycare centers, which could be putting their kids at risk.
Sarah Landis, a mom from Philadelphia, told Consumer Reports that in June, she came to her one-year-old son’s daycare and discovered that a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was in the infant facility room. Landis told her husband, Adam Garber, who works in product safety. Garber gave the daycare a call to see if they were aware of the recall.
“Our daycare provider, who cares deeply about the kids, was really confused,” says Garber. “She said she thought there had only been a warning about the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and that as long as the product was properly used, and babies were buckled in, it would be fine.”
Garber informed the daycare director that a full recall had been issued, something that the director says they were never informed about the extent of the recall and so they believed they were not putting children in danger by keeping theirs. William Wallace, the manager of home and safety policy for Consumer Reports, says that this can be common if companies give mixed messaging about a recall.
“Recalls don’t work well unless people get a clear and consistent message. And they especially don’t work well if manufacturers and the government fail to fully warn people about the risks of a product,” Wallace explained.
Fortunately, in this case, no infants were harmed as a result of the sleeper but considering the popularity of these products, it’s hard to imagine that there aren’t still daycare centers that are unknowingly using a product that has been proven to be dangerous.
What can you do if you are a parent who is unsure if your kid’s daycare is using one of these items? Garber says the most effective thing you can do is reach out.
“One of the things we’re telling folks is to just go in and ask what the center’s plan is to check for and remove recalled products—and then ask about specific products,” Garber says.
Ben Hoffman, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatric’s Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention’s executive committee, agrees, adding that the safest thing for parents is to ensure that no inclined sleepers are being used.
“I would encourage parents to talk to day care providers and make sure their babies are put to sleep in a safe way, and not in a recalled product—but ideally not in any inclined sleeper,” Hoffman says.
Waynesboro woman did drugs prior to baby being found dead
WAYNESBORO, VA – The case of a Waynesboro woman whose baby was found dead last year concluded Wednesday with a conviction.
Christian P. Haynes, 19, is facing the possibility of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in Waynesboro Circuit Court to a felony charge of child abuse.
Zayden Haynes, just 7 months old, was found dead March 3, 2018, after his mother neglected to check on him for 15 hours, according to Waynesboro assistant prosecutor Elysse Stolpe.
The baby was placed in a crib with an adult blanket, an adult pillow and had a bottle propped up onto his mouth when Haynes last saw him the night before at 11 p.m., Stolpe said.
The next day at 11 a.m., Haynes heard the baby crying but opted to let him “cry it out, even though she hadn’t checked on him for about 12 hours,” according to Stolpe.
Three hours later, Haynes, 18 years old at the time, woke up shortly after 2 p.m. and posted a selfie online. Five minutes after that a 911 call was placed when the baby was found unresponsive.
Stolpe said Haynes began smoking meth three days prior to the boy’s death, which kept her awake for days. The prosecutor said Haynes was tired and “coming down off that high” when she failed to properly care for her child.
A search of Haynes’ residence revealed there was methamphetamine and marijuana in the home. A smoking device was found near the child’s crib and another one was discovered next to his playpen in another room, Stolpe said. Haynes also admitted to sometimes smoking meth inside a closet in the baby’s room.
Stolpe said a drug screen done at the home by an Augusta County Child Protective Services employee showed Haynes had meth and marijuana in her system.
“This underscores that drugs aren’t just a victimless crime,” Stolpe said. “A child is dead because his mother was too busy getting high and then sleeping it off.”
Stolpe said the Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office considered a more serious homicide charge, but said an autopsy was inconclusive in determining if the baby suffocated to death. “Sudden unexplained infant death associated with unsafe bedding” was listed as the cause of death, according to Stolpe.
Following her guilty plea, Haynes, who has no prior criminal record, was allowed to remain free on bond.
Family Of 1-Year-Old Who Died In Hot Car Had No DCF History
#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters
MIAMI, FL – The Department of Children and Families says the family of a 1-year-old who died after being left in a hot car had no history with the child welfare system.
The department has opened a child protective investigation but says all details remain confidential.
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll did release a statement saying,
“My heart goes out to this family who have lost a precious child. It is easy to assume this could never happen to you, but time and time again I see caregivers who let themselves slip into a routine when transporting children and make a fatal mistake when that routine is disrupted. More than half of all child deaths from hot cars are the result of a parent inadvertently leaving the child in their car..”
The case prompted strong words from Miami-Dade Police spokesman, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “This is something that we, in society, cannot allow to continue to happen. The precious cargo in your car is a child and there is no way that we as parents can forget the precious child in your car. This is happening way too often.”
“No matter how hectic our schedule is, no matter how fast paced our lives are, we can not allow our kids to be put in danger,” said Zabaleta. “We just need to learn how to slow down and concentrate on what we are doing.”
The 1-year-old boy was apparently forgotten in the car Wednesday at a strip mall near Bird Road and 97th Avenue.
The baby’s mother works at a beauty salon in the mall, according to witnesses. They said she was not supposed to work on Wednesday but came in on her day off.
She reportedly came to work at the Forever Young Spa around 9 a.m., parked the car in the back and, at about 12:30 p.m., they heard loud screams and commotion when she found her child.
The baby was a transported to Kendall Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
It was a hot day Wednesday with temperatures in the mid-80s. Temperatures inside the car could’ve reached up to 100°.
Witnesses said the mother was devastated and screaming. She said something along the lines of because of work – this happened.
At this time, it is unclear if there will be any charges related to this incident. Zabaleta said the case is being referred to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office. Witnesses said police have recovered surveillance tape from the scene but it is not being released.
A friend of the family said that family members were too upset to say anything right now.
At the salon, customers said they were upset after hearing the news.
“I can’t imagine anything like this happening,” said Cathy O’Sullivan, who also has children.
Another customer, Shanin Alvarez, said, “This is such a sad story to hear this. I don’t know what happened, if she was distracted or if she is a first-time mother.”
Customer Lidia Gutierrez said, “It is horrible. It is just so sad.” Her friend and another customer, Iala Isarque, said, “I just really have no words to say.”
Following the incident, Carroll did ask parents to find a safety strategy that works for them, suggesting the following:
Be sure to check the back seat every time you leave the vehicle.
Put your purse, briefcase, lunch, etc. in the backseat so you are sure to look before you lock the door.
Do not let your children play near vehicles; they may accidentally lock themselves in.
If there is a change in plans and someone else is dropping your kids off, have them call you at drop off so you know everyone made it safely.
For more information on tips to hot car preventions, click here.
On average, 37 children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.
Stockton Girl, 7, Dies; Uncle Suspected Of Child Abuse, Torture
STOCKTON, CA – A young girl has died and her uncle is under arrest on suspicion of child abuse, authorities say.
Stockton police say officers responded to a home along the 10500 block of Hidden Grove Circle a little after 4 a.m. to investigate a medical call. As they soon discovered, a 7-year-old girl had been rushed to the hospital.
The girl was later pronounced dead. Authorities suspect the girl died from injuries sustained from being abused.
Officers have arrested the girl’s uncle, 24-year-old Arthur Combs. He’s facing charges of torture and child abuse resulting in death.