STODDARD COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Stoddard County woman was sentenced on Wednesday, Oct. 15 to 10 years in prison for abuse of a child.
Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russell Oliver says Megan Kirby, 22, entered an alford guilty plea on May 7 to the charge of abuse of a child (traumatic brain injury).
An alford plea means the defendant does not admit the act, but admits the prosecution could likely prove the charge. The defendant may plead guilty, but not admit all the facts that comprise the crime.
Oliver said there was no plea agreement in this case because Kirby's plea was an open plea and sentencing was left entirely up to the judge.
According to the probable cause statement, on Aug. 21 at 3 p.m., officers say they received a report from the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division about a report of child abuse.
They say the report said the victim, a 1-year-old girl, was being treated at a St. Louis hospital for bleeding on the brain.
On Aug. 20, the baby was transported from a Dexter medical center to the St. Louis hospital.
The probable cause statement says on Aug. 21 a social worker at the St. Louis hospital confirmed that the baby was being treated for what a doctor indicated was an injury consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The baby was also noted to have healing fractures in her arm consistent with child abuse.
In Kirby's first telling of events to the medical staff, she described two injuries. She said the baby hit her head on the wooden slats in her crib and got a bruise on her face. She also said the baby got her arm stuck in the crib, causing a bruise on the underside of her arm.
She said on the morning of Aug. 20, the baby woke up to eat at 5:30 a.m. She said she gave the baby a bottle and went back to bed. She then heard a weird sound and checked the baby monitor. She said she saw the baby shaking and then vomit a large amount.
Kirby said she picked the baby up and she was limp, but still warm. She said she gave the baby two rescue breaths, started to have a panic attack and then rushed the baby over to a neighbor's house and pounded on the door. By then, she said the baby was cold, pale and not breathing.
According to the probable cause statement, at that time one person in the home began giving the baby CPR and another called 911.
Kirby denied shaking the baby in an effort to revive her and said she knows not to shake a baby, according to the probable cause.
On Aug. 21 the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control interviewed Kirby at 7:16 p.m. in a private meeting room at the St. Louis hospital.
Officials say Kirby's interview was mostly consistent with her interview with the hospital staff. However, Kirby admitted to shaking the baby. She said after she saw the baby on the baby monitor having what appeared to be a seizure, she picked her up and noticed she wasn't breathing. She said she then shook the baby hard enough to make her head go backward and forward.
They say Kirby admitted to lying by saying she did not shake the baby.
In another interview on Aug. 22, this one with Dexter police, Kirby said around 2 p.m. on Aug. 19 she left the home with the baby and visited a friend. She said she returned home with the baby later that evening and took the baby over to a neighbor's apartment to visit. She returned home with the baby again around 10:30 p.m.
At 11:30 p.m., Kirby said she fed the baby and put her to bed.
At 2 a.m., she said the baby woke up and she fed her again, then put her back to bed.
At 5:50 a.m., Kirby said the baby woke her up and she noticed the baby's neck was puffy and red. After feeding her, Kirby said the puffiness and redness went away. She said she then went and laid down, but did not go back to sleep. She said she watched the baby on the baby monitor.
A short time later, Kirby said she heard the baby make a belching sound. She said she saw the baby's left arm was down on her side and her right got stiff above her head. She said the baby then began shaking and she vomited on the wall.
Kirby said she picked the baby up and saw she was not breathing, so she gave her two breaths. She said she then picked her up around the chest, held her in front of her face, then shook her hard twice.
Kirby said she then rushed the baby over to the neighbor's house while she held the baby face down on her arm and patted her back. She said the baby was cold and had stopped breathing.
She said she initially failed to report she shook the baby because she would get in trouble.
On Aug. 26, a doctor at the St. Louis hospital submitted a medical affidavit that include the following findings:
- Bilateral subdural hemorrhages (bleeding around the brain on both sides)
- Subarachnoid hemorrhages (bleeding under the surface of the brain)
- Acute contusion (bruise) to the left parietal lobe of the brain
- Retinal hemorrhages in the left eye
- Healing left ulna fracture (one of the two bones in the forearm)
The doctor said due to the injuries and lack of a history of medical issues, she has reasonable cause to suspect the baby is a victim of child maltreatment, abusive head trauma and physical abuse.