A Michigan mother and her fiancé allegedly killed a four-year-old girl when they used blankets and duct tape to restrain her in bed.
According to Michigan Live, Kelly Ballinger and her fiancé, Matthew Longenecker have been charged with first-degree child abuse and murder. If convicted, the pair could be condemned to life sentences. Police revealed that the 33-year-old woman had found her daughter, Desaray unresponsive in bed around 5:00 a.m. on July 9 and called emergency services.
When responders arrived on the scene, they spent over 50 minutes trying to revive the unconscious girl, but failed. Desaray’s death was eventually ruled a homicide after lacerations and bruises were discovered on her body. Investigators would later discover that Ballinger and her fiancé had swaddled the little girl in blankets and wrapped it in duct tape when she was put to bed.
They also covered her face, making it difficult for her to breathe.
Ballinger and her 34-year-old boyfriend had purportedly been doing this to Desaray for the past two weeks. The girl always remained helpless in bed, unable to move until the next day when Ballinger or Longenecker would come and remove the blankets and duct tape.
The cause of the little girl’s death is still yet to be determined. But the first officer to arrive from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety suspects that the four-year-old died from a yet-to-be-identified form of physical trauma.
Ballinger and Longenecker have admitted that they covered and restrained the little girl. Additionally, investigators have gone on to discover incriminating text messages on their cell phones that backed their confessions. The Daily Mail is reporting that the couple has been denied bond and are penciled to appear in Kalamazoo County District Court on August 1.
Two other children lived in the Michigan home at the time of Desaray’s death. One child is eight years old while the other is just two months old. They have since been taken into custody by Child Protective Services.
Virginia Davis, a great-grandmother to Desaray described her as a smart and happy girl who loved to dance and sing. Davis said she babysat the little girl for over 12 months when she was born, but had not seen her since January even after asking her mother constantly that she wanted to visit.
“She was a darling little girl. She could talk really good. If you asked her a question, she could answer it the right way.”
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