http://www.wiscnews.com/bdc/news/loc...cc4c03286.htmlJUNEAU - When a 2-year-old girl appeared in the emergency room of Hartford Memorial Hospital with multiple skull fractures in November, police suspected her babysitter had abused her.
The ensuing investigation soon spiraled into a more onerous allegation that 47-year-old Renee S. Kuehl of Hustisford was responsible for the reckless homicide of a 22-month-old boy who died while under her care two years earlier in what had been ruled an accidental fall down a flight of basement stairs.
Charges of first degree reckless homicide and physical abuse of a child were filed against Kuehl Tuesday in Dodge County Circuit Court. A warrant for Kuehl's arrest was also filed Tuesday.
Kuehl is not a licensed daycare provider, but she told police in November she frequently babysat for close family and friends for rates as low as $3 an hour, according to a criminal complaint.
Kuehl was babysitting for a 2-year-old girl Nov. 2, 2009, when the toddler suffered injuries that resulted in two skull fractures and bleeding of the brain.
The complaint says Kuehl told Dodge County Sheriff's Det. Vicki Brugger and the child's mother that the toddler was spinning like a "princess or ballerina" when she fell and hit her head on the cement driveway of her apartment at 262 S. Maple St., Hustisford.
The toddler's mother reportedly took her to the hospital hours later because the girl was acting lethargic.
A 5-year-old boy who was also under Kuehl's care when the toddler was injured recalled a different story. The boy told police the girl was in the basement when she was injured, according to the complaint, and he thought she was dead when Kuehl carried her into the living room and laid her on the couch.
Dr. Lynn Sheets, medical director of the Child Protection Center of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, stated in the complaint that the toddler's injuries were inconsistent with Kuehl's story.
"She has been severely physically abused," Sheets stated.
The complaint also describes other injuries Sheets called "very suspicious"- an "impact injury" to the forehead and markings on the girl's legs that appeared to have a pattern - that were found on the child when she was taken to the hospital.
While investigating the alleged abuse police reportedly learned that a 22-month-old boy had died in November 2007 while Kuehl babysat him at a his home in Juneau.
The complaint says Kuehl told police she went to the bathroom and forgot to close a basement door. The boy, she said, fell down the stairs and died despite efforts to revive him while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher.
Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner Dr. P. Douglas Kelly found the boy had multiple skull fractures, among other injuries. He ruled the specific causes of death to be "multiple traumatic injuries," including blunt force trauma to the head, abdomen and chest.
After interviewing Kuehl and the child's parents, Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel ruled in December 2007 the cause of death was an accident, writing "fall down stairs" on the death certificate, according to the complaint.
Rorke-Adams stated in the complaint she found that "(the boy) was the victim of extensive, severe, inflicted trauma which caused his death; hence the manner of death is homicide."
"It is my opinion to a reasonable degree of certainty that the constellation of injuries found to (the victim's) body are non-accidental in nature, and it would be appropriate to certify the manner of death in this case as a homicide," he stated in the criminal complaint.
Dr. Michael Stier, a forensic pathologist with UW- Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, reviewed the case and render an opinion in line with that of Rorke-Adams and Kelly.
"This constellation of severe and life-threatening injuries is completely inconsistent with the reported history of being sustained from a fall down a short flight of domestic stairs," Stier stated in the complaint. "(The victim) clearly passed away from multiple blunt-force traumatic injuries."
A first degree intentional homicide charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. A child abuse charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
From another source
http://www.fdlreporter.com/article/2...-homicide-caseBabysitter sought in Dodge County child homicide case
The complaint was issued along with an arrest warrant, said Dodge County District Attorney Office Manager Bob Barrington.
Investigators reopened the case involving what had been ruled an “accidental death” of 22-month-old Blake Peters, after the mother of a 2-year-old girl allegedly abused by Kuehl at her village of Hustisford residence Nov. 2, 2009, contacted authorities. The woman said Blake had been under Kuehl’s care when he “accidentally” fell down a flight of stairs, according to the criminal complaint.
During the 2007 investigation, Kuehl told authorities that she had been in the bathroom when Blake fell down the basement steps of his home in Juneau. The death had been ruled accidental by Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel. The autopsy report indicated that the child had suffered blunt force trauma to the head, abdomen and chest and extremities, according to the criminal case.
Investigators forwarded the medical reports surrounding the death of Blake Peters to Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams, a forensic neuropathologist with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She opined that the child was a “victim of extensive, severe, inflicted trauma that caused the death,” adding that the manner of the death was a homicide, according to the complaint.
The medical records were also forwarded to Fond du Lac County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Douglas Kelly, who performed Blake Peters’ autopsy. Kelly stated in February 2010 that in his opinion the injuries found on the child’s body were “non-accidental in nature” and that it would be appropriate to certify the manner of death as a homicide.
Kuehl also faces felony charges of physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm in the Nov. 2, 2009, incident involving a 2-year-old girl
uehl told investigators that she babysits several children ranging in age from 5 months to 5 years old. All the children under her care — with the exception of the 2-year-old girl — are family members. Kuehl does not possess a state day care license.
Kuehl told the woman that the child had been twirling around in her driveway and she believes she fell and hit her head on the cement. Later that evening, the woman noticed her daughter was very lethargic and had vomited in her bed. A doctor at a Hartford hospital noted the child had two skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. After examining the child, Dr. Lynn Sheets, medical director at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, said the girl’s injuries were “inconsistent with a fall and that the child had been severely physically abused,” according to the complaint.
The child’s mother told investigators that her daughter had been injured twice in the past month while at Kuehl’s home. The babysitter told her that in one instance the girl had fallen off a chair and the child had run into a trailer hitch, according to the complaint.
At the time of the 2-year-old’s injury, Kuehl had also been caring for another nephew, the 5-year-old brother of Blake Peters. Although Kuehl told police that the children had been playing outside together, the child told investigators that he had been inside, and thought the girl had fallen in the basement. The boy told investigators that he saw his aunt carry the girl into the living room and lay her down; adding that he thought the girl was “dead,” according to the complaint.
If convicted, Kuehl faces up to 70 years in prison.