CHILD FATALITY
Lt. Kenneth Landwehr
Wichita Police Department
Homicide Section
Multidisciplinary Team
• Homicide Unit
• EMCU
• SRS
• District Attorneys Office
Child Fatalities
• Natural Deaths
• Accidents
• Suicides
• Homicides
• Undetermined
Causes of Fatalities
Distinguishing between accidental
and inflicted injuries
Definitions
 An accident is an event that occurs
incidentally, casually or by chance
 An abusive inflicted injury is one...
Accidental or NOT
• Motor Vehicle
• Drowning
• Poisoning
• Fire
• Firearms
• Exposure
• Falls
• Choking
• Suffocation
• St...
Abusive Inflicted Injury
• Intentional
• Reckless
• Negligent/Neglectful
• Acute or Chronic
Law Enforcement
Protocol
 Homicide Unit responds to all child
deaths with victims under the age of 6
 Homicide also resp...
Law Enforcement Response
 To a hospital
 To the scene
 Separate Witnesses
 Notification of Detectives
 Neighborhood
...
Detective Response
 Identify and Secure potential
scenes (could be multiple)
 Physical exam of baby
 Processing of scen...
Detective Response
 Obtain Family and medical history of child-
Releases or Subpoenas
 Obtain DNA samples /Consent or Se...
Detective Response
• Attend Autopsy
• Suspect Interrogation
• Review Investigation with District
Attorney Felony Review Te...
CSI Response
 Boundaries of Scene
 Preservation of Scene and Evidence
 Documentation of Scene and Body
 Photographs, M...
Evidence Last Meal dishes
bottles
 Meds,drugs poison
 Bedding
 Clothing/diaper
 Blood,saliva,vomit,
urine,feces
 Hai...
Knowledge about Child
Development
Essential in Distinguishing
Accidental from
Inflicted injuries
Developmental Milestones
 Sitting up alone
 Rolls over
 Crawling/Up
 Walking alone
 Runs
 Toilet training
 4-10 wor...
Fatal Falls
 You don’t CRUISE -You don’t BRUISE
 No significant injury-Fall < than 3
feet
 Fatal Outcome-Fall > than 2-...
Separating Accidental from
Inflicted
• Age of victim?
• Is the history plausible?
• Does history change with changing
info...
More Questions
• Are there non-familial witnesses to the event?
• Is the caretaker defensive, belligerent, hostile,
passiv...
Histories Suspicious for
Abuse
 Delay in seeking medical attention
 Discrepant history
 Fractures in varying stages of ...
Head Injury
• Impulsive loading without impact
whiplash
• Struck by moving object causing head
acceleration
• Moving head ...
SYMPTOMS
• Decreased
responsiveness
• Irritability
• Lethargy
• Limpness
• Convulsions
• Vomiting
• Low body
temperature
•...
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken Impact Syndrome
 Commonest cause of mortality and
long term disability due to physical
abuse
...
SBS/ SIS
 Inconsolable crying is usual trigger
mechanism
 Perpetrator grabs infant by the thorax,
upper arms or neck, an...
Shaken Baby Intracranial
Injury
• Bridging veins from the brain to the dura
tear open and bleed, creating subdural
hemotom...
Other Injuries of SBS
• Most significant are the retinal and
petechial hemorrhages
• Skull fractures with sufficient impac...
Head Trauma History
 Symptoms will begin immediately
 LUCID INTERVAL –A period of
unconsciousness followed by a
period o...
Abdominal Injuries
 Organs most Frequently injured
Small Intestine, Liver, Pancreas
 May not produce dramatic signs or
s...
Thoracic Injuries
 Rib cage
 Internal Organs-heart,lungs, blood
vessels,nerves,esophagus, trachea,
diaphragm
 Types of ...
Likely Inflicted Thoracic
Injury
• Posterior Rib Fracture
• Perforation of the posterior
pharynx or upper esophagus
• Chyl...
Skeletal Injury
• Humeral – common in abuse
• Femoral-if accidental either motor
vehicle crash or major blunt trauma
• Cla...
Suspicious Fractures
• Metaphyseal in children
under 2yrs(disc like or
bucket handle)
• Posterior rib
• Medial or lateral
...
Suffocation
• Hypoxia-lack of oxygen
• Minimal or no external or internal
trauma Petechial hemorrhages may
or may not be p...
Poisonings
• Administration of Toxic agents
• Salt Poisoning
• Most Toxic screens miss
Strangulation
 Manual may have some external marks,
fingerpad bruises,crescent abrasions
 Ligature may see marks,abrasio...
BURNS
• IMMERSION BURNS
• DRY CONTACT BURNS
• CHEMICAL BURNS
IMMERSION BURNS
 Uniformity of the burn
 Sparing of skin surface by skin folds
 Sharply demarcated margins of the burn
...
DRY CONTACT BURNS
• Uniform in degree
• Often involve exposed surfaces
of the body (arms, legs, hands,
and feet)
• Associa...
CHEMICAL BURNS
 Associated with acid or alkali
substances
 May involve the skin or the
internal organs, particularly the...
Pattern Burns
• Conforms to heating elements (Irons,
grills, curling irons, cigarette lighters,
or stove heating elements)...
Neglect
Failure to meet child’s needs
food, shelter,clothing,
medical care,safekeeping
Prosecution
• Negligent Supervision
• Medical Neglect
• Reckless Acts
• Intentional Acts
Criminal Charges
 1ST
Pre-meditated or Felony Murder
 2ND
Intentional or Reckless
 Voluntary Manslaughter
 Involuntary...
Prosecution Problems
 Parent as Killer
 Invisible Trauma
 Establishing Mens
Rea (State of
Mind)
 Multiple Killers
 Ti...
Successful Investigation
and Prosecution
• Timely Response
• Coordinated Response
• Careful and Complete
Documentation
• W...
Toshua A Pool 3mo 5-17-2004 Multiple closed head wounds
Anthony Melton 18 WM
Boyfriend of Mom not the father
Plead to 2nd Intentional and two
Aggravated batteries
Left Skate South
at 8:00 PM on
June 9, 2006
Chelsea Brooks 14
Everett Gentry 17
Gentry will Plead Guilty to first degree murder
Theodore Burnett 49
Burnett will be found guilty of
Capital Murder sentenced to
50 years
Elgin Ray Robinson 20
Robinson found guilty of Capital Murder
sentenced to 50 years
Child fatalit ynotes
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Child fatalit ynotes

  1. 1. CHILD FATALITY Lt. Kenneth Landwehr Wichita Police Department Homicide Section
  2. 2. Multidisciplinary Team • Homicide Unit • EMCU • SRS • District Attorneys Office
  3. 3. Child Fatalities • Natural Deaths • Accidents • Suicides • Homicides • Undetermined
  4. 4. Causes of Fatalities Distinguishing between accidental and inflicted injuries
  5. 5. Definitions  An accident is an event that occurs incidentally, casually or by chance  An abusive inflicted injury is one that occurs voluntarily and under conscious control  Inflicted injuries may be intentional or unintentional
  6. 6. Accidental or NOT • Motor Vehicle • Drowning • Poisoning • Fire • Firearms • Exposure • Falls • Choking • Suffocation • Strangulation
  7. 7. Abusive Inflicted Injury • Intentional • Reckless • Negligent/Neglectful • Acute or Chronic
  8. 8. Law Enforcement Protocol  Homicide Unit responds to all child deaths with victims under the age of 6  Homicide also responds to victims with serious/ life threatening injuries  Traffic cases excluded  All cases reported to State Child Death Review Board
  9. 9. Law Enforcement Response  To a hospital  To the scene  Separate Witnesses  Notification of Detectives  Neighborhood  Special problems due to dynamics
  10. 10. Detective Response  Identify and Secure potential scenes (could be multiple)  Physical exam of baby  Processing of scene(s)/Consent or Search Warrant  Interviews with medical staff/EMS
  11. 11. Detective Response  Obtain Family and medical history of child- Releases or Subpoenas  Obtain DNA samples /Consent or Search Warrant  Interviews with parents/caregivers  Interview witnesses  Interview siblings / family
  12. 12. Detective Response • Attend Autopsy • Suspect Interrogation • Review Investigation with District Attorney Felony Review Team • Follow up Investigation
  13. 13. CSI Response  Boundaries of Scene  Preservation of Scene and Evidence  Documentation of Scene and Body  Photographs, Measurements, Diagrams  Collection of Evidence  Chain of Custody
  14. 14. Evidence Last Meal dishes bottles  Meds,drugs poison  Bedding  Clothing/diaper  Blood,saliva,vomit, urine,feces  Hair, fiber  911 tape  Latents  Pattern Instruments  Weapons  Documents  Photos or videos of child  School records  Phone records
  15. 15. Knowledge about Child Development Essential in Distinguishing Accidental from Inflicted injuries
  16. 16. Developmental Milestones  Sitting up alone  Rolls over  Crawling/Up  Walking alone  Runs  Toilet training  4-10 words  5-7 months  6-7 months  7-9 months  8-13 months  12-15 months  22-36 months  15-18 months
  17. 17. Fatal Falls  You don’t CRUISE -You don’t BRUISE  No significant injury-Fall < than 3 feet  Fatal Outcome-Fall > than 2-3 stories  Stairways do not usually result in life threatening injuries
  18. 18. Separating Accidental from Inflicted • Age of victim? • Is the history plausible? • Does history change with changing information given to caretaker? • Does history change when related in subsequent accounts by other family members?
  19. 19. More Questions • Are there non-familial witnesses to the event? • Is the caretaker defensive, belligerent, hostile, passive or unconcerned? • Is the social situation in which the event occurred a high-risk environment? • Most importantly, what else could have caused the observed injuries?
  20. 20. Histories Suspicious for Abuse  Delay in seeking medical attention  Discrepant history  Fractures in varying stages of healing  Extremity plus skull fracture  Intracranial injuries plus skull fracture
  21. 21. Head Injury • Impulsive loading without impact whiplash • Struck by moving object causing head acceleration • Moving head strikes object • Head compression vise • Penetrating
  22. 22. SYMPTOMS • Decreased responsiveness • Irritability • Lethargy • Limpness • Convulsions • Vomiting • Low body temperature • Low heart rate • Increased breathing rate • Coma with fixed and dilated pupils • Death
  23. 23. Shaken Baby Syndrome Shaken Impact Syndrome  Commonest cause of mortality and long term disability due to physical abuse  Age range-newborn to 4 years  Most occur before babies first birthday  Average age: 3-8 months of age
  24. 24. SBS/ SIS  Inconsolable crying is usual trigger mechanism  Perpetrator grabs infant by the thorax, upper arms or neck, and violently shakes the baby  Time of shaking-- 5-20 seconds
  25. 25. Shaken Baby Intracranial Injury • Bridging veins from the brain to the dura tear open and bleed, creating subdural hemotoma and subarachnoid hemorrhages • Brain strikes the inner skull, causing direct trauma to the brain and swelling
  26. 26. Other Injuries of SBS • Most significant are the retinal and petechial hemorrhages • Skull fractures with sufficient impact • Posterior rib fractures reflect chest compression during shaking • Bruising of the head, face, chest, and other areas or other fractures
  27. 27. Head Trauma History  Symptoms will begin immediately  LUCID INTERVAL –A period of unconsciousness followed by a period of apparent recovery (0nly in adults and adolescents, Never documented in a child)
  28. 28. Abdominal Injuries  Organs most Frequently injured Small Intestine, Liver, Pancreas  May not produce dramatic signs or symptoms Quickly  Liver damage most likely Blunt Uppercut
  29. 29. Thoracic Injuries  Rib cage  Internal Organs-heart,lungs, blood vessels,nerves,esophagus, trachea, diaphragm  Types of Force: Direct impact Penetration,Compressions
  30. 30. Likely Inflicted Thoracic Injury • Posterior Rib Fracture • Perforation of the posterior pharynx or upper esophagus • Chylothorax-Allows Milky Chyle to leak into thoracic cavity
  31. 31. Skeletal Injury • Humeral – common in abuse • Femoral-if accidental either motor vehicle crash or major blunt trauma • Clavicular –uncommon under 3yrs,can result from shaking • Vertebral-due to compression of vertebral bodies during shaking
  32. 32. Suspicious Fractures • Metaphyseal in children under 2yrs(disc like or bucket handle) • Posterior rib • Medial or lateral clavicular • Scapular • Sternum • Skull • Multiple • Bilateral(longbones on both sides) • Repetitive(in same child) • Fractures in hands or feet
  33. 33. Suffocation • Hypoxia-lack of oxygen • Minimal or no external or internal trauma Petechial hemorrhages may or may not be present • Overlaying • Wedging
  34. 34. Poisonings • Administration of Toxic agents • Salt Poisoning • Most Toxic screens miss
  35. 35. Strangulation  Manual may have some external marks, fingerpad bruises,crescent abrasions  Ligature may see marks,abrasions, or bruises from instrument  Broken Hyoid, Thyroid,Crioids bone and cartilage  Internal bleeding  Petechial hemorrhages
  36. 36. BURNS • IMMERSION BURNS • DRY CONTACT BURNS • CHEMICAL BURNS
  37. 37. IMMERSION BURNS  Uniformity of the burn  Sparing of skin surface by skin folds  Sharply demarcated margins of the burn  Most often involve the upper and lower extremities and the buttocks
  38. 38. DRY CONTACT BURNS • Uniform in degree • Often involve exposed surfaces of the body (arms, legs, hands, and feet) • Associated with discrepant histories
  39. 39. CHEMICAL BURNS  Associated with acid or alkali substances  May involve the skin or the internal organs, particularly the mouth, throat, esophagus.
  40. 40. Pattern Burns • Conforms to heating elements (Irons, grills, curling irons, cigarette lighters, or stove heating elements) • May be accidental or inflicted • Factors: age of child, location of burn, history
  41. 41. Neglect Failure to meet child’s needs food, shelter,clothing, medical care,safekeeping
  42. 42. Prosecution • Negligent Supervision • Medical Neglect • Reckless Acts • Intentional Acts
  43. 43. Criminal Charges  1ST Pre-meditated or Felony Murder  2ND Intentional or Reckless  Voluntary Manslaughter  Involuntary Manslaughter- reckless or commission of Misdemeanor  Abuse of Child, Endangering a Child Abandonment or other persons crimes
  44. 44. Prosecution Problems  Parent as Killer  Invisible Trauma  Establishing Mens Rea (State of Mind)  Multiple Killers  Time of Injury  Mechanism of Injury  Poor Investigation  Public Perception
  45. 45. Successful Investigation and Prosecution • Timely Response • Coordinated Response • Careful and Complete Documentation • Well trained investigators and prosecutors
  46. 46. Toshua A Pool 3mo 5-17-2004 Multiple closed head wounds
  47. 47. Anthony Melton 18 WM Boyfriend of Mom not the father Plead to 2nd Intentional and two Aggravated batteries
  48. 48. Left Skate South at 8:00 PM on June 9, 2006 Chelsea Brooks 14
  49. 49. Everett Gentry 17 Gentry will Plead Guilty to first degree murder
  50. 50. Theodore Burnett 49 Burnett will be found guilty of Capital Murder sentenced to 50 years
  51. 51. Elgin Ray Robinson 20 Robinson found guilty of Capital Murder sentenced to 50 years

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