Infant's death investigated in Sikeston

Infant's death investigated in Sikeston
By: CJ Cassidy

Sikeston, MO - A Southeast Missouri woman faces first degree murder charges after a toddler left in her care dies.

Now Sikeston police want to figure out why anyone would hurt a toddler, as they investigate the death of one-year-old Devionah Clark.

The child's stepmother, 23-year-old Ashley Nicole Clark sits behind bars in Scott County.

"She was just a cheerful little baby; a baby a grandfather would love," Keny Morris says.

The grandfather knows all too well just how much he'll miss his granddaughter.

Devionah Clark died at a St. Louis Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Her step-mother is accused of murder.

"She said she was stressed, because the baby was crying and she had shaken the baby and caused other injuries to it trying to get baby to be quiet," Captain Mark Crocker with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety says.

Police reports indicate Clark confessed to grabbing Devionah by her arm and swinging her into a door. She then allegedly admitted to throwing the baby several feet into a chair, about ten times over two days.

Reports also show Clark admitted to hearing the baby's head hit the floor and make a thump sound.

Still, the baby's father's side of the family say they just don't buy it.

"I'm angry, and I'm sad. The baby's a part of me, but now what's really hurting is my son. Two tragedies in one day, his wife and his baby, that's his first child," Morris says.

Ashley Clark's employer is also shocked, even more so because Clark worked alongside her at a daycare.

"I heard it, and my head went tight very disturbing I can't see that. I'd like to know what happened," Marilyn Freeman says.

Medical reports indicate the baby was brain dead, and that the injuries were not the type that could have simply been caused by playing with the child.

In other words, doctors say a reasonable adult would realize the injuries could cause great harm or kill a child.

Autopsy results are expected back in about three weeks.