Thursday, November 10, 2011
ALTON - A woman is in police custody, awaiting formal charges after she allegedly swung a friend's 22-month-old boy Sunday night, bashing his head against a door frame.
The boy, who police would not identify, suffered a life-threatening brain injury. He was in critical condition Monday at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
Deputy Chief Jody O'Guinn of the Alton Police Department said the boy's mother left the child in the care of her 29-year-old friend, who lives on Fernwood Avenue. The friend has two children of her own, O'Guinn said.
"(The baby sitter) became frustrated with him and swung the child," O'Guinn said. "He hit his head against the door frame."
Another woman inside the home called 911 at 8:22 p.m. Sunday, with paramedics from the Alton Fire Department and Alton Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service responding to the call.
The ambulance paramedics took the injured boy to Alton Memorial Hospital's emergency room, with firefighters requesting a police officer to investigate his injuries.
An ARCH Air Medical Services helicopter flew the boy to the St. Louis facility.
O'Guinn declined to release the name of the child's mother.
He said police would meet with the Madison County State's Attorney's Office today to seek charges against the suspect; her name will be published if or when the office charges the woman with an offense.
ALTON - An active, happy little boy is dead, and his stepmother is charged with first-degree murder after she allegedly swung him against a doorframe in anger, inflicting a fatal brain injury.
"He was a good little boy, always playing, laughing and running," said Lee Harrison of Roxana, maternal grandmother of little Chase Anderson, 22 months, who died Monday at Children's Hospital in St. Louis. "He liked to play with his cars."
Hospital staff turned off his ventilator at 1:40 p.m. Monday. Harrison said she could not bear to stay at the hospital as Chase died.
"He was the best baby," she said. "You would take him to the doctor for a shot, and he would just sit there, smile and look around. He never threw a fit of any kind."
On Tuesday, the Madison County State's Attorney's Office charged the boy's stepmother, Jami Renee Anderson, 29, of the 3100 block of Fernwood Avenue in Alton, with the felony offense.
She was being held at Alton City Jail with no bond.
"There is no possible reason, nothing that a 2-year-old child can do, to cause someone to injure him or be the cause of what happened to him," Alton Police Chief Chris Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the child's injuries Sunday did not occur during rough play with Jami Anderson.
"It was an intentionally inflicted injury," he said.
The boy's father told Harrison's daughter that for several weeks, he would come home from work and notice the child would have a bruise, a cut lip or a knot on his head, Harrison said.
"(Anderson) told him it was from a temper tantrum," Harrison said. "It escalated, and I don't know why. He didn't have tantrums."
She said the incidents were reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, "but nothing happened."
Sullivan said he has no record of anyone calling police regarding abuse of the child.
Sullivan identified the child's mother as Kasey J. Hyman, 23, of the 1600 block of Greenwood Street in Alton. In an article in Tuesday's Telegraph, another police official described Hyman and Anderson as friends, but Harrison said the two women were not friends.
The chief said Tuesday that Anderson was the child's stepmother.
The boy had been living at the Fernwood home with his father, James Anderson, and stepmother for several months, sharing custody of Chase with the boy's mother. The couple had never married, Harrison said.
Harrison said the child's father was at work at the time of the abuse, and the boy was in the care of his stepmother in the Fernwood residence. Anderson has four children of her own, with two of the children living at the house, Harrison said. The Andersons only recently married, two sources said.
Harrison said Hyman, her daughter, also has a 5-year-old son - who lives with Harrison - and a daughter with disabilities who will turn 3 in May. The daughter lives with Hyman.
Chase would have had his second birthday on April 13.
Someone called 911 at 8:22 p.m. Sunday to report that a 2-year-old had "struck his head, was unconscious but breathing," Sullivan said.
Paramedics from the Alton Fire Department and Alton Memorial Ambulance responded to the call, with the ambulance paramedics taking Chase to the Alton Memorial Hospital emergency room.
Police were called to the hospital to investigate the toddler's suspicious injuries.
An ARCH Air Medical Services helicopter flew the boy Sunday night to Children's Hospital, where he died the next day. Police had given an incorrect hospital location for the article published Tuesday.
The St. Louis Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on the child Tuesday morning.
Harrison said the family now is working with Victims' Assistance to obtain money with which to pay for a funeral and to bury the boy.
"We are hoping that maybe the cemetery will work with us and let my ‘baby' be buried," Harrison said. She said the family is working with Paynic Home for Funerals in Rosewood Heights.
Sullivan said Anderson would be transferred to the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville later Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
Madison County Circuit Court records show Anderson was charged with illegal possession of drug paraphernalia last June 15.