Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dad "allegedly" beats 4-month-old son to death; mom speaks out (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Dad is identified as ZACHARY RICH.

Mother speaks about child's beating death

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 12:54 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 30, 2014 7:39 AM EDT

By Joe Bartels

LAS VEGAS -- A 4-month-old baby boy is dead, and police believe he died at the hands of his own father. The boy's mother spoke exclusively with 8 News NOW about the beating death.

Metro’s Abuse/Neglect detectives paint a dark picture of what happened inside a home near Buffalo Drive and Tropicana Avenue late last month. Court records show 25-year-old Zachary Rich beat his son Draven so severely, the boy stopped breathing. Rich was supposed to be caring for his son.

The boy's mother, 24-year-old Cassie Kierstead, said she left Draven while she went out with friends. When a flurry of text messages came from Rich, she knew something was wrong.

"I ran upstairs, and my son was lying on the bed, dead. My son was dead,” Kierstead said. "I think my son was crying to the point where Zachary couldn't take it and shook him, you know. That's what I think happened."

According to the arrest report, Rich told Kierstead through a text message the baby was unresponsive, but he left him on the bathroom floor. In another message, he told her she could deal with him when she came home.

Almost an hour after the text to Kierstead that the baby was in trouble, Rich told his roommate to call 911.

Draven was taken to the hospital. Doctors said he had internal injuries and severe brain damage along with several strokes. Doctors say the boy went blind and wouldn't survive.

"I decided to take him off life support the day after Easter,” Kierstead said. “I wanted at least one holiday with my son."

Kierstead said she had to make the most difficult decision of her life, saying goodbye to her baby she called her “little monkey man.”

"It hurts not having my son. He was a very happy baby,” Kierstead added.

A Child Protective Services complaint of substance abuse was filed against the family a few weeks before Draven's beating, but CPS closed the case, because workers couldn't locate the family.

In the police report, a friend of Kierstead told police Rich was not happy about her going out and leaving the baby with him.

Kierstead said she wants to know the truth about what happened that night and hopes for justice for her and late son.

Draven was cremated Tuesday.