Tag Archives: Murder

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.

NM Child Death Arrest

.jpg photo of mother accused of killing her son
Miranda Rabago, 27

Santa Fe Child Abuse case makes headlines

Santa Fe, NM  –  A local story is getting international attention, but not for the right reasons.  A Santa Fe mother is accused of child abuse resulting in her toddler’s death.

Police say 27-year-old Miranda Rabago took her son, Ares Baroz, to the hospital in November after she reportedly found him unconscious in his crib.  The 18-month-old died after suffering fractures to his skull, legs and shoulder area, as well as bleeding in the brain.

New details are emerging about what was found in Rabago’s apartment.  According to the Daily Mail, police found photos on Rabago’s cell phone showing the toddler with the word’s “thug life” written in black sharpie across his stomach.  She also allegedly wrote “loco” on the child’s forehead.

Police say they also found a sippy cup with rotten milk in his crib, blood on a pillow and marijuana pipes.

Shot Fired Into AR Womans Car

.jpg photo of Road Rage graphic
A man started honking his horn,then got out and fired into the woman’s car.

Toddler killed in Arkansas road rage incident

Little Rock, AR  –  A manhunt is underway in Little Rock, Arkansas, after a 3-year-old boy on a shopping trip with his grandmother was shot and killed during an apparent road rage incident, police said.

A motorist behind the woman Saturday evening grew agitated that she was not moving quickly enough, Little Rock Police Department spokesman Lt. Steven McClanahan said.

The man started honking his horn.  He got out of his car and fired into the woman’s car, police said.

“One shot was fired and it went through the vehicle and hit the child,” McClanahan said Sunday.

Police have not released the victim’s identity.

Officers believe the incident occurred on the city’s southwest side. The grandmother was at a stop sign at Mabelvale Cut Off Road and Warren Drive when a confrontation ensued, police said.

Not realizing that the child had been hit, the woman later drove to a JC Penney in west Little Rock.  Police received a call shortly before 6:30 p.m. that a child passenger had been shot.

The boy was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  A 1-year-old child was also in the car at the time of the shooting, according to a police report.

Police said the grandmother and the slain boy had no relationship with the suspect.

“I certainly have no information to say that anyone in this family has done anything to cause this young person’s life,” Little Rock Police Department Chief Kenton Buckner told CNN affiliate KARK.  “But this is about as frustrating as you can be as a public safety official or just a plain citizen.”

No arrests have been made yet.  Crime Stoppers is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, Little Rock police tweeted Sunday.

Homicide detectives are conducting an investigation.

The fatal shooting marks Little Rock’s 40th homicide of the year, police said.  Last year, there were 31 homicides in Little Rock. 

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.