The name of Kathleen Steele made international headlines this week after the news of her infant daughter’s horrific beating death hit the wire. Steele, a 62-year-old Florida mother, reportedly left her three young children locked in a hot van last Monday while she ran an errand. While the children were alone in the car, Kathleen Steele’s 6-year-old son allegedly beat her 13-day-old infant daughter to death in a shockingly brutal act.
When Kathleen Steele returned to her rented van after being away for over 30 minutes, her son reportedly told her, “It’s bad,” in reference to her battered and abused infant daughter’s (also named Kathleen Steele) condition.
Rather than seeking immediate medical care for the tortuously abused infant, Kathleen Steel reportedly continued running errands. She went to the car rental office to extend her contract on the rental vehicle, according to police. It was over two hours after her small daughter had been viciously beaten by her 6-year-old son before Kathleen Steele reportedly sought any kind of medical intervention for the tiny baby. Even then, instead of contacting law enforcement or driving the battered 13-day-old infant to the hospital, Kathleen Steele opted to call a neighbor who is employed as a nurse.
Unfortunately, reports the New York Daily News, by the time Kathleen Steele’s neighbor arrived on the scene to tend to the infant, the younger Kathleen was already blue and cold.
The shocked and terrified neighbor then contacted authorities about the condition of the beaten baby; when first responders arrived on scene, they reportedly did their best to resuscitate the lifeless little girl. As EMTs and police worked frantically, Kathleen Steele calmly and distantly remained in her kitchen putting groceries away. According to authorities, Steele didn’t seem concerned in the least about the health and well-being of her infant daughter and was “aloof.”
First responders were unable to revive the cold infant, and she was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival. Her official cause of death was determined to be severe cranial trauma and multiple skull fractures; before she succumbed to her head injuries, the baby reportedly suffered cardiac arrest.
Kathleen Steele’s unattended 6-year-old son reportedly beat the baby so viciously, slamming her tiny body on the floor of the locked van, (because the infant was screaming and crying while she was locked in the vehicle with her brothers), shaking and hitting her, that investigators found blood spatter on the ceiling of Kathleen Steele’s rental van.
Local Florida police and investigators called the brutal beating death of Kathleen Steele’s infant among “the worst things they’d ever seen.”
“The skull was cracked in numerous places, described as probably mush … one of the worst things that I’ve ever seen.”
On Thursday, law enforcement gave an over-30 minute press conference detailing the horrific case of Kathleen Steele and her unattended children. They announced that they’d arrested the Florida mother on felony aggravated manslaughter charges in connection with the death of her 13-day-old daughter. Police, locals, and the world were stunned by the depravity of the actions carried out by Kathleen Steele’s 6-year-old.
As the details of the case emerged, many people were left wondering how a 62-year-old woman ends up being the biological mother of a 13-day-old infant in the first place. According to the Patch, Kathleen Steele had been featured on the reality TV show I’m Pregnant and 55-years-old.
During her stint on the short-running show, Kathleen Steele told the world of her dream life, a life missing nothing except a child. At the time, Steele was 55 years old and pregnant with her first son. The very son who would brutally beat her 13-day-old daughter to death just seven short years later.
Kathleen Steele’s husband (and the father of all three of her young children, ages 6, 3, and 13 days) passed away in 2011. Steele’s youngest two children were born via IVF with her deceased husband’s frozen sperm. Investigators are reportedly looking into the doctor who performed the IVF procedure on the 62-year-old woman, according to reports.
Police say that even prior to the death of her 13-day-old at the hands of her 6-year-old, Kathleen Steele’s parenting abilities had long been called into question. Law enforcement had repeatedly been contacted in the past by individuals concerned about Kathleen Steele’s parenting skills. According to investigators who looked into the situation after her tiny infant’s horrific death at the hands of her brother, Kathleen apparently had no business mothering the three small children.
Specifically, law enforcement called Kathleen Steel “ill-equipped” to parent during their Thursday press conference.
In fact, authorities told the media and public during the press event that the the Florida Department of Children and Families and Pinellas County child protection investigators had been involved with Kathleen Steele twice just since the birth of her now-deceased 13-day-old infant daughter. According to law enforcement, those interactions took place as a result of authorities being notified of neglect and possible abuse concerns multiple times in less than two weeks.
Despite the repeated reports to authorities by individuals concerned about the level of care Kathleen Steele was providing her children, family services found insignificant evidence to remove the children from Kathleen Steele’s care or even get involved in the situation further.
As of Saturday evening, Florida mom Kathleen Steele is incarcerated for the part she allegedly played in the untimely and brutal death of her infant daughter. She has officially been charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of the baby, and her bail has been set at $100,000. According to reports, her 6-year-old son admitted to authorities that he did beat his 13-day-old baby sister to death. Police even told the public that the child acted out the horrible abuse that the deceased infant endured at the end of her short life.
“We had him show us with a doll, and it was very violent. He was slamming that doll, and it’s terrible.”
Due to his age, the 6-year-old will not face criminal charges for his role in the death of his baby sister. Both of Kathleen Steele’s surviving children are now in the custody of Florida Department of Children and Families.
***Update: At the time of publication, it has been reported that Kathleen Steele has been released on bond and is in protective custody for her own safety, reports WFLA.***
[Image via Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department]