New Twist in Sparks Cold Case Murder

Date: 2006-06-07

New Twist in Sparks Cold Case Murder

Posted: 12:59 PM Jun 7, 2006
Last Updated: 12:59 PM Jun 7, 2006

The arrest of a former Sparks woman for murder of an adopted child more than three decades ago has prompted authorities in Nebraska to review the 1963 death of her 10-month-old daughter there, police said.

Catherine Bader, 66, was arrested last week in Phoenix for murder and child abuse for the death James Bader, a toddler who died at Saint Mary's Hospital in Reno on Aug. 10, 1974. Sparks police were called to the hospital that day on a report that he had died from injuries sustained during a fall and concluded no foul play was involved in his death.

Investigators reopened the case in March 2005 when a detective received a phone call from a family member who said the boy had
been abused by his mother.

Now, police in Fremont, Neb., say the March 2, 1963 death of baby Kimberly "Kimmie" Bader is being reviewed there for signs of foul play, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Wednesday.

Bader remains in the Maricopa County, Ariz., Jail awaiting extradition to Washoe County. She told police in 1974 that the boy died of a stomach injury after he fell from a lawn chair.

Sparks police said the initial, accidental death determination made in 1974 was based on what investigators knew at the time. Since then, there's been major advances in forensics, as well as heightened awareness and training in child abuse cases.

Catherine Bader and her husband Larry, lived in Fremont when they were married, said Larry Bader's sister, Virginia Dunn, who still lives there. Catherine Bader gave birth to Julie in 1959. Kimmie was born in 1962 and died the following year after Catherine Bader's third daughter, Tami, was born.

Tami died at 21 in California of toxic shock syndrome, Virginia Dunn said. Catherine and Larry Bader divorced in 1987, two years after Tami died. Larry Bader died in 2004.

When Virginia Dunn was a teenager, she baby-sat for her two nieces. She had been watching Kimmie two days before Catherine Bader said she died of a complication of the sniffles. After her death, she said her brother and sister-in-law removed any trace of the baby.

The Baders moved to Sparks in 1964, when Larry Bader became a Reno firefighter and had a construction business. His wife stayed at home and cared for the kids. Larry Bader, who yearned for a son, adopted J.W. in 1972 or 1973 after the boy had been abandoned in a Las Vegas casino and placed in a foster home, his sister said.


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