Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Children's division visited home 3 months before caregiving dad "allegedly" killed 1-year-old daughter (Springfield, Missouri)

Three months before the shaking death of KYLE BAYLOR's 1-year-old daughter, the family was visited by the Missouri Children's Division for "alleged" abuse against the 1-year-old's half sister, who was 2. The abuse was not substantiated, though an unidentified caller had described the abuse in some detail. What else is new....

Baylor had been "caregiving" for both girls for at least a week before the baby's death, and he has already admitted getting "frustrated" with the 1-year-old's crying before violently shaking her and throwing her on the couch. He has been charged with 2nd-degree murder.

Some interesting observations about this case.

1) For all the fussy distinctions that are made between boyfriends and fathers, note that in this case, the father killed his own child and apparently "merely" abused his girlfriend's child.

2) Also note that the mother was no longer living with Baylor at the time of the incident, and in fact was supposed to start receiving child support for the 1-year-old! Whether the children's week-long stay with Daddy was the court's idea or what is not explained. But this wouldn't be the first time a father killed a child during "visitation" to avoid child support.

Missouri Children's Division investigated report of abuse at Baylor home three months before baby died
Children's Division had been at Baylor's home 3 months before baby died.

Kathryn Wall • News-Leader • March 17, 2010

The Missouri Children's Division had been at the home of Kyle Baylor three months before prosecutors say he killed his baby.

Baylor, 24, is charged with second-degree murder after the death of daughter, Vaniessa Baylor, 1. According to a police report, he admitted shaking her.

He is due in court today for a hearing in the case.

Records from the Children's Division reveal an investigation in November into reported child abuse of another child, identified as Vaniessa's half sister. The report was determined to be unsubstantiated.

The Children's Division doesn't have the authority to remove a child from a home. It can only make recommendations to law enforcement. In this investigation, both the Children's Division worker and the police officer agreed that there was no evidence of abuse, according to Children's Division records.

"I don't think there were those glaring concerns when we were able to talk and observe the kids," said Julie Lester, Southern Region Director for the Missouri Children's Division, in an interview with the News-Leader. "We felt like we were OK with what we were seeing."

An unidentified person called the child abuse hotline Nov. 3, saying he or she had seen the 2-year-old the day before with hair missing on her head and bizarre blisters on the inside of her thighs, according to Children's Division records. The caller also said he or she had seen unexplained bruises and bite marks on the girl within the previous year.

A Children's Division investigator and a police officer visited the family Nov. 4.

According to the report, the investigator found no evidence of missing hair and determined the blisters reported had been diaper rash. There were also no bruises present, according to the report.

There were also reports of drug use in the home, which according to the report were unsubstantiated.

Lester said a call was made to the hotline caller to determine if he or she had any more information after the initial investigation.

According to the Children's Division report, the caller denied having reported any abuse.

Kyle Baylor was identified in the report as a caregiver for the 2-year-old, but not the biological father.

"We can't predict what can happen with these families. It's just so tragic. It's very hard on our workers when something this horrible happens," Lester said.

Vaniessa was rushed to Cox South hospital Feb. 10 after police got a call that the girl had fallen off a couch. She died Feb. 12, just weeks after her first birthday.

According to court records, Kyle Baylor was supposed to start paying child support for the girl on Feb. 15. He had received notice that child support payments of $317 a month would be due the month before.

A search didn't turn up any other court records.

He later admitted to police that he had gotten frustrated with the girl's crying, according to documents charging him with felony child abuse.

After Vaniessa's death, the charges were upgraded to second-degree murder.

The child's mother, Misty Dart, 22, was not at the home at the time. The court records for child support listed her under another address as of January.

Kyle Baylor told police he had been the only caregiver for the two children in the week prior to the incident.

He showed officers how he shook the girl -- described as "a violent shaking motion" in the probable cause statement -- and then threw her on the couch.

Kyle Baylor said he then covered the girl in a blanket and went to help another child he was taking care of in the bathroom.

He told police he heard Vaniessa fall off the couch. When he found her unresponsive, he called police, only saying she had fallen.

According to the police incident report, the girl's eyes were open but she was not responding when officers arrived at the home at 920 E. Adams St.

The girl was taken to Cox South hospital, where she was treated for a subdural hematoma (bruising of the brain), fluid buildup in her lungs and bruises.

According to the probable cause statement, Vaniessa had bruises on her back along her ribcage and four under her chin "from what appeared to be from someone grabbing her chin with a hand."

Kyle Baylor allegedly admitted to police that he shook the child but denied causing the bruises under her chin.

He will be in court today in a preliminary hearing to name his attorney.