Babysitter charged in infant’s death

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COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – A Columbia City babysitter has been arrested and charged with the death of a 1-year-old she was caring for in April 2018.

Courtney L. Kincaid faces charges of Aggravated Battery Resulting in Death, a level 1 felony; Neglect of a Dependent Causing Death, a level 1 felony; and Battery Resulting in Death to a Child Under 14 Years, a level 2 felony.

On April 12, 2018, a detective with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department received a report about a serious injury to an infant after police and medics responded to Kincaid’s home along Coffeetree Lane. An officer arrived and found the baby not breathing.

The baby would die around 10:15 p.m. that night.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a scan of the child’s head showed soft tissue swelling on the exterior of the skull, and a skull fracture. A doctor said “it would take a significant amount of force to fracture the skull of a 1-year-old because their skull is still soft,” and explained the injury would have been from striking a blunt object because there was no depression, the affidavit said.

In the doctor’s opinion: “Something either struck the head of the child or the child’s head was struck against something,” the affidavit said.

An autopsy found the child died of blunt force traumatic injuries to the head and her death was ruled a homicide.

The detective and a child welfare case manager met with the child’s parents at a Fort Wayne hospital, where the infant was under care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after a surgery to remove swelling from her brain.

The parents – Nicholas and Sherry Leeman – said they’d left the infant with Kincaid around 7 a.m. that morning, at Kincaid’s Columbia City home.

At the home, Kincaid said she had laid the child down for a nap. She said the child began to cough, so she went to check on her and found her “foaming at the mouth.” She then went limp in Kincaid’s arms, the affidavit said.

Kincaid told investigators the child had not fallen or been injured that day, the affidavit said.

In an interview five days later, Kincaid said at some point during that day, the children were all jumping off of the couches onto cushions they’d put on the hardwood floor. At one point, Kincaid said she heard a “thud” and found one of the children – her daughter – injured her cheek.

Kincaid suggested that “maybe this is how (the child) may have been injured,” the affidavit said.

During a polygraph test conducted by Indiana State Police in August 2018, results indicated “deception” when Kincaid was asked about injuries to the child.

Kincaid then said after the child went limp, she “panicked and dropped her because she couldn’t hold on to her,” the affidavit said. An investigator said that doesn’t support information gathered.

Kincaid then said earlier that day, she was on the patio with the children and holding the infant when she lost her balance and dropped the child onto the concrete patio. According to the affidavit, Kincaid said she picked the child up and tried to comfort her, and she fell asleep later.

Kincaid said after about an hour, she picked up the girl and noticed foam coming from her mouth and she was limp. Kincaid said “her whole body went numb” and she dropped the infant back onto the floor, the affidavit said.

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