CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. - Wearing a flowery dress, pink shoes and a thick leather restraint around her waist, a 10-year-old girl appeared in Chippewa County Court on Monday, Nov. 5, accused of repeatedly stomping on a 6-month-old infant, causing his death. She deeply sobbed throughout the hearing, where she was ordered to be held in a secure detention center.
The girl was charged with first-degree intentional homicide by someone age 10 or older, said Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell. The case could later be moved out of adult court and into juvenile court, Newell said.
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram is not identifying the girl because of her young age and the likelihood the case will be transferred to juvenile court. Tilden is about 16 miles north of Eau Claire.
State law required the matter, at least initially, to be held in adult court, Newell explained.
“She has to be treated as an adult,” Newell said.
The incident occurred Oct. 30 at a licensed day care in the town of Tilden, northwest of Chippewa Falls. The house is also a foster home, and the girl resides there as a foster child. The infant who died was not related to the girl; the infant was there as a client of the day care.
Newell said “she stomped on his head, which results in the injuries that caused” his death.
Judge James Isaacson ordered a $50,000 cash bond, calling it “an appropriate resolution,” while adding that a lot would happen in the ensuing 48 hours in determining where the girl will be placed. For now, she is at a secure detention center.
Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said the incident was reported at 4:34 p.m. Oct. 30 of a 6-month-old who was bleeding from his head and unresponsive. He was taken to HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, then flown to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare hospital in St. Paul.
“The child sustained head trauma and passed away Nov. 1,” Newell said.
Kowalczyk said a doctor from Minnesota informed his office that it was his belief that “the injuries were not an accident.”
Investigators interviewed the four people who were at the home, and the girl “confessed to her involvement in this situation,” Kowalczyk said.
Investigators seized the girl’s shoes and a stool, which were taken as evidence, Newell said.
Defense attorney Kirby Harless asked for a smaller bond, saying the girl has lived her whole life in the area and there is no reason to think she wouldn’t attend a future court hearing.
“She would like to return home, and given her age, that may be appropriate,” Harless said.
Kowalczyk said it has been a challenging couple of days for his office, between investigating this case as well as the four deaths in a car crash Saturday in Lake Hallie.
“It’s not such a good morning for Chippewa County,” Kowalczyk said to open a news conference about both matters.