Malden woman charged with manslaughter, child abuse in child's death

Malden woman charged with manslaughter, child abuse in child's death

MALDEN, MO (KFVS) - A Malden woman faces a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of a 9-month-old child.

Breon Danielle Lashay Hess, 25, also faces felony charges of abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Court documents show a 911 call came into the Malden Police Department around 4:30 p.m. on Halloween.

The infant was unresponsive and was taken to a hospital in Dexter and later airlifted to a St. Louis hospital where he died on Thursday morning.

Doctors told investigators that the child had a 'devastating brain injury,' extensive retinal hemorrhage, and possible retinoschisis which is described as abnormal splitting of the retina's neurosensory layers.

Hess agreed to an interview with police on Wednesday.

She told investigators that she'd been caring for the infant boy since Sunday, Oct. 30 and that the baby was "unusually fussy."

The police report indicates that Hess admitted she got upset when she couldn't calm him, so she picked him up and shook him.

She went on to say she then dropped him onto a blanket and watched him for a few minutes.

Police said she told them the infant was calm and when she checked on him again, he was gasping for breath and then threw up.

Hess told investigators she picked the boy up and noticed one eye was closed, the other was open, and the baby was barely breathing.

Court documents indicate she called a friend who told her to hang up and call 911.

According to the Malden Police Chief, Hess is not the child's mother. They say she has no relation to the child, she only acted as the caretaker.

Neighbors say they can't believe this happened.

"It broke my heart," said Carolyn West. "She was such a good girl, she was my neighbor. I knew her real well and it broke my heart, it really did."

Hess is being held at the Malden City Jail with a cash only bond of $250,000.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Malden Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control.

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