POTOSI — The mother of a 17-month-old child who died earlier this year was bound over to the circuit court for a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
On Tuesday afternoon, after a preliminary hearing, Assistant Circuit Judge Troy Hyde determined there was sufficient probable cause for the case against Jaimee Kelly Scott, 22, of rural Bismarck, to go to trial.
She was ordered to appear before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte on July 20 for arraignment.
The charge alleges Scott acted in a manner that created a substantial risk to the life, body or health of a child, by allowing the physical abuse of her baby.
The child’s father, Ricardo Medina, 21, had already been bound over for a charge of abuse of a child. He is accused of causing injury to the child that resulted in death.
According to court records, the child suffered a fracture to the skull and bleeding between the brain and protective membrane. The girl died a few days later.
During the hearing, Special Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn called only one witness, Washington County Special Investigator Todd Mahaney.
Mahaney said early on April 1, he received a call from another deputy telling him a baby was seriously injured and was being taken to Cardinal Glennon.
He testified he arrived at the hospital about two hours before the parents did and saw the child with bruises in various stages on her forehead, jaw, torso, back and thigh.
He said he spoke to both parents a couple of times before separating them. He said the initial story was that the child had fallen on concrete steps the night before. He said the baby’s father did most of the talking.
When asked, the mother told him that she was the main disciplinarian. She said she had disciplined by spanking, slapping and giving time-outs.
When the parents were interviewed separately, the father gave another explanation for the injury which the medical staff told Mahaney couldn’t have caused the severity of the injury.
Mahaney said he asked the mother what really happened and she said she heard a noise and then saw Medina clutching the child. She told him to let go and then tried to get him to let go. She said they then got into a verbal argument and he reached down and grabbed the baby by the neck and threw her to the ground. She said he then began choking her and she briefly lost consciousness.
She said she didn’t tell Mahaney that story before because she is afraid of Medina. She began showing the detective the bruises on her body.
She also told about another incident. She told Mahaney that Medina had held the child by one foot, swinging the child upside down.
“The swinging of the child was within the confines of a portable playpen, and the child’s face made contact with the mesh sides, causing an abrasion to the child’s lip which resulted in bleeding,” Mahaney said.
Scott told Mahaney that if authorities looked at the playpen, blood would be found on it, near the corner and on a doll. Mahaney said he did find the blood as described by the mother.
Scott’s attorney, Richard Sindel of Clayton, argued the woman was being abused and was unfamiliar with the area. They had just moved there in January. He said she also did not have a phone.
He also argued that she tried to stop Medina from hurting the child and was hurt while doing so.
Horn said Scott had the legal duty to protect her child from harm and she should have removed her child from that volatile situation.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at email@example.com.