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Toddler's death ruled 'accidental' even as mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter

Date: 2015-01-22

By Heidi Fenton | hfenton@mlive.com

WYOMING, MI -- An 18-month-old girl found dead in her crib in March 2014 died of asphyxia from removing her trachea tube, according to a death certificate filed in Kent County.

The certificate classifies her death as accidental, even as police are charging the toddler's mother, Rebecca Cotes, with involuntary manslaughter.

Kent County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said the ruling Hannah Hoag suffered an accidental death does not preclude a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors, he said, are alleging gross negligence occurred with the death.

Hannah was found unresponsive in her crib the morning of March 24 and pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m.

In a probable cause affidavit, police allege Cotes, 26, placed Hannah in a crib without medical monitoring equipment — required because of the girl's special health needs. As she slept, Hannah removed her trachea tube, causing her own death, police say.

Woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in adopted daughter's neglect death

Date: 2015-01-21

By Angie Jackson

UPDATE: Toddler's death ruled 'accidental' even as mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter

WYOMING, MI -- A Wyoming woman is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the March death of her adopted 18-month-old child.

Rebecca Cotes, 26, is accused of neglecting her daughter's medical condition, which required a certain level of care, police said. Hannah Hoag was found dead in her crib on the morning of March 24.

The criminal allegation against Cotes comes after an investigation by Child Protective Services determined Hannah was the victim of medical neglect.

Cotes was Hannah's adoptive mother, Capt. Kim Koster said. She declined to specify the medical condition the child suffered from.

Cotes on Wednesday, Jan. 21, waived a probable cause hearing in Wyoming District Court. She is not currently jailed, records show.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

Trial date continued for Newport News couple charged in child's death

Date: 2015-01-20

By Ashley K. Speed

EWPORT NEWS — A new hearing date has been set for a Newport News couple charged in the death of their 7-year-old adopted daughter..

Terri Dennis, 32, and Pamela Dennis, 41, are charged in the April 2013 homicide of Terrilynn Destiny Dennis. Both are charged with murder and child abuse. Their trial date was set for Jan. 27 in Newport News Circuit Court, but has been continued, according to online court documents. A new hearing date has been set for Feb. 9, where a new trial date could be selected.

Officers responded about 1:40 a.m. April 4, 2013, to the 200 block of Gallery Court after receiving a call that a 7-year-old girl was not breathing, according to police. When police arrived, they found family members performing CPR on the girl, and they took over CPR until paramedics arrived. The girl was transported to a local hospital where she died a short time later, police said.

Paramedics were called more than eight hours after Pamela Dennis noticed the girl's tongue had turned purple and she was unresponsive, the criminal complaint states.

Defense seeks trial delay for Ohio Guardsman accused of sexually abusing adopted daughters

Date: 2015-01-19

MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A defense attorney is asking a court to postpone the trial of an Ohio National Guardsman accused of sexually abusing three adopted daughters and his stepdaughter and trying to keep other children in the family from discussing what they knew.

The 41-year-old Marysville man has pleaded not guilty on 35 counts alleging he abused the girls, abruptly sent a fourth adopted daughter out of state and threatened other children with a similar fate to keep them from talking. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 26.

In a motion requesting a delay, the defense said it needs more time to review medical records, contact between the victims and the prosecutor's office, and allegations of inappropriate sexual contact involving parties associated with the case. In regard to that unspecified sexual contact, the defense also sought court approval to pay for someone to review what was investigated and documented.

The office of the Guardsman's attorney has said he won't discuss the case.

Jury finds man guilty of sexually assaulting 2 girls

Date: 2015-01-16

By Nelson Daranciang

The man who opened and ran Heart Gallery Hawaii, the local chapter of a national organization that recruits parents for hard-to-adopt foster children, is guilty of sexually assaulting two girls.

A state jury deliberated less than three hours Friday before finding Louis A. Martinez guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault, one count of attempted felony sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault.

The girls reported that Martinez sexually assaulted them in 2011. One of the girls was 11 years old at the time. The other girl was 16.

Martinez, 38, faces sentencing in April.

Chinese police rescue 37 babies in trafficking bust

Date: 2015-01-14

By Naomi Ng

Police rescued 37 babies and a 3-year-old girl after busting a child trafficking ring in eastern China's Shandong province, reported the state-run China Central Television.

The newborn babies, many suffering from HIV/AIDS and malnutrition, were sold for between 50,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan ($8,000 to $12,912 dollars). The boys fetched higher prices than girls, according to the online video report published on Tuesday.

Babies were often transported in large handbags and suitcases to prospective buyers. And they were allegedly fed instant noodles and leftover vegetables, according to Chinese state media.

Authorities have arrested 103 people, suspected of trafficking or purchasing the infants.

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Doctor admits stealing, selling babies 01:11

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Police spotted a suspicious group of pregnant women being ushered into an abandoned factory in the city of Jining, last July, where they found baby diapers and other evidence of it being used as an "underground delivery room."

American to face trial in Guatemala adoption case

Date: 2015-01-08

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- A Guatemalan court has ordered an American woman to stand trial on charges of participating in illegal adoptions.

The prosecutors' office for human trafficking says the court found sufficient evidence to try Nancy Susan Bailey, who is being treated for high blood pressure at a Guatemalan hospital.

Bailey was apprehended in El Salvador and turned over to Guatemalan authorities at the border between the two Central American countries Dec. 17.

The arrest warrant for Bailey was issued in 2008 and charged her with taking children and putting them up for illegal adoption for fees as high as $40,000.

Bailey founded the orphanage Seeds of Love outside Guatemala's capital in 1996.

Guatemala's International Commission Against Impunity said in a 2010 report that it found 3,342 irregular adoptions, mostly to U.S. couples.

One girl's controversial adoption, and what it says about Guatemala's broken international adoption system

Date: 2015-01-08

Editor William Troop

Adopting a child from Guatemala used to be really popular among Americans. In 2006 alone, more than 4,000 Guatemalan kids were adopted by families here in the US.

In each case, prospective parents paid tens of thousands of dollars in fees. All that money fuelled a lucrative adoption industry in Guatemala, and an underground trade in abducted children.

It got so bad that Guatemala halted all new international adoptions in 2007. The country's been trying to reform its broken system ever since. But there are still a lot of questions about what went on in the past, and about one case in particular.

It involves a girl named Karen Abigail, who was adopted years ago from Guatemala by an American couple from Missouri.

“Karen’s case is actually a high-profile criminal investigation in Guatemala,” says investigative journalist Erin Siegal McIntyre. She’s spent several years looking into Karen’s adoption and Guatemala's broken adoption system in general.

Her lengthy article detailing Karen’s case was published online by Guernica magazine.

Judge sends man to prison for 30 years for molestation of 5-year-old adopted daughter

Date: 2015-01-07

By Theresa Ghiloni

JACKSON, MI -- Before sentencing a man who admitted to molesting his 5-year-old adopted daughter to 30 to 50 years in prison for one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Circuit Judge John G. McBain said he couldn't "wrap his head" around the crime.

"I just can't wrap my head around a 46-year-old man who's gonna turn his daughter into a sex toy," McBain said. "I'm sure what you have done has emotionally scarred her and the rest of your family for the rest of their lives."

Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kati Rezmierski told McBain during the Jan. 7 sentencing that the man violated what should have been "a sacred bond" with his daughter. She said his actions will eventually cause the now 7-year-old she described as "amazing" and "fierce" to internalize the "shame and degradation" he caused.

The man's name has been withheld because he shares a name with his daughter and the Citizen Patriot typically does not print names of sexual assault victims.

American arrested on illegal adoption, human trafficking charges in Guatemala

Date: 2014-12-18

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Guatemalan authorities have arrested an American accused of human trafficking and participating in illegal adoptions.

Prosecutors say Nancy Susan Bailey was apprehended in El Salvador and turned over to Guatemalan authorities via Interpol at the border between the two Central American countries.

The arrest warrant for Bailey was issued in 2008 and charged her with taking children and putting them up for illegal adoption for fees as high as $40,000, according to a statement released by prosecutors. She was arrested Tuesday.

Bailey founded the orphanage "Seeds of Love" outside the Guatemalan capital in 1996.

Guatemala's International Commission Against Impunity issued a report in 2010 saying it found 3,342 irregular adoptions, mostly to U.S. couples.

The commission described networks of child-trafficking in the country for the purpose of illegal adoptions.

Palmdale mother pleads to torturing children

Date: 2014-12-16

by M. Dilworth

PALMDALE – A 52-year-old Palmdale woman accused of tying up and beating her two adopted children with electrical cords and a hammer has pleaded no contest.

Ingrid Brewer pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of torture, and she is expected to be sentenced to seven years to life in state prison, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Brewer has been in police custody since Jan. 16, 2013. She was arrested hours after her two adopted children were found huddled in a blanket, under a parked vehicle, about a quarter of a mile away from their Palmdale home. The 8-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl told detectives they ran away from home because they were tired of being tied up and beaten by Brewer, according to Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.

“Even our most veteran child abuse detectives were appalled at what we came across in this incident,” Hudson said at the time.

State puts on hold settlement payment to Nubia Barahona’s brother

Date: 2014-12-14

By Mary Ellen Klas -

TALLAHASSEE —

When the state of Florida quietly agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit over the gruesome death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona and the torture of her twin brother, Victor, it all but admitted it was at fault.

Now, the Florida Department of Children and Families and lawyers for the state Legislature want to put the deal on hold and indefinitely delay final payments.

DCF agreed to settle the lawsuit in March 2013, two years after Victor was found near death and covered with pesticides alongside his sister’s decomposing body on I-95 in Palm Beach County. A 2011 DCF report concluded that, from the time Victor and Nubia Barahona entered the child welfare system as infants through Nubia’s death, their safety net was a “systemic failure.”

Ringgold woman accused of abusing adopted son says she’s innocence

Date: 2014-12-04

By Adam Cook

A Ringgold woman accused of abusing her 11-year-old adopted son is proclaiming her innocence.

Christine Evelyn Baughman, in a prepared statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3 through her attorney, said she is “innocent of these allegations that have been made against her.”

“… As more light is cast upon this situation, her innocence will become apparent,” Baughman’s attorney Adam C. Cathey of Ringgold said in the statement.

“On November 25, 2014, Dr. (Henry) and Ms. Baughman were contacted by Catoosa County child protection and law enforcement authorities,” Cathey said. “At that time, Dr. and Ms. Baughman were informed of allegations having been made by an unknown third party regarding their son. Notwithstanding their full compliance with the investigation, Ms. Baughman was hastily arrested at 10:00 p.m. that evening. While the charges made against Ms. Baughman appear very serious, she wants to assure the community that she is innocent of these allegations that have been made against her.”

Ringgold woman arrested for child abuse of adopted son

Date: 2014-12-03

By Adam Cook

A Ringgold woman was arrested for alleged child abuse two days before Thanksgiving, following an investigation of claims that she physically and emotionally abused her 11-year-old adopted son.

According to the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department:

Christine Evelyn Baughman, 43, was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 25, for first-degree cruelty to children. She was released from jail the following day, Nov. 26, on a $5,000 bond.

The investigation into Baughman’s treatment of the child began with a welfare check of the boy at the family’s home on Nov. 22, after a complaint had been submitted to the Department of Family and Children Services.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was also notified of the complaint, as was child crimes detective Tim Deal with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s a joint investigation,” sheriff Gary Sisk said Wednesday, Dec. 3. “Interviews were conducted in the case, and the charge was then brought about.”

Catoosa County Woman Arrested for Cruelty to Children

Date: 2014-12-03

A Ringgold woman faces a child cruelty charge for abusing her own son, according to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office Wednesday.

Christine Evelyn Baughman is charged with cruelty to children in the first degree, accused of physically and emotionally abusing her child. he police report indicated that the "weapon" used was an "adult belt." After a search online, NewsChannel9 found out the suspect worked in healthcare around children.

According to the incident report, the alleged abuse happened between November 19 and November 20 at the family's home at 635 Middleview Drive in Ringgold. Whitfield County case workers with the Department of Family and Children Services were called to check out the boy on November 22. That's when DFCS took photos of injuries and reported everything to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, authorities said.

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