WOMAN INDICTED IN 2-YEAR-OLD'S DEATH

Relates to:
Date: 1998-02-15

Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage woman accused of torturing and killing her 2-year-old foster child has been indicted for first-degree murder, and her husband has been indicted for manslaughter for failing to protect the child.Indictments handed down late Friday and released Saturday by the Anchorage district attorney's office charged Marcias Reinhold, 38, withfirst- and second-degree murder in the death of Janessa Aguirre. She also faces four felony counts of assault and a felony count of evidence tampering.
 
She originally was charged with second degree murder and assault.
 
Her husband, Michael Reinhold, 36, was arraigned Saturday on one count of manslaughter. Investigators claim he failed to protect the girl, who was developmentally disabled and had lived with the couple since March 1996. The state has said the couple planned to adopt the child.
 
Bail was set at $150,000 each, with a requirement for a court-approved custodian before release, prosecutors said Saturday.
 
Assistant district attorney Roger Rom said an Anchorage grand jury heard two days of mainly medical evidence concerning the death of Janessa. He would not comment on the specifics of the case.
 
Court documents claim torture and beating inflicted by Marcias Reinhold began Dec. 12. Janessa died four days later of severe head injuries that caused internal bleeding.
 
Marcias Reinhold isaccused of slamming the child's head on a concrete garage floor and on the kitchen floor, of burning her face with a hair dryer, and scalding the girl's mouth and face with hot food.
 
Investigators have said it appeared Janessa was hurt in two separate incidents over a few days. There was no indication of long-term abuse, police said.
 
Marcias Reinhold initially reported the girl was hurt in the bathtub. Investigators later said injuries were inconsistent with a bathtub fall.
 
After Janessa's death, Marcias Reinhold checked herself into Alaska Psychiatric Institute. She is now at Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility in Eagle River.Michael Reinhold is being held at Cook Inlet Pre-trial Facility.
 
A second foster child placed with the family days before Janessa's death was removed when Janessa was taken to the emergency room, Rom said. There were no indications of abuse to this child, he said.
 
The state Division of Family and Youth Services is conducting its own investigation into what happened at the Reinhold home. DFYS officials want to know whether the agency had warnings of danger in a place that was supposed to be Janessa Aguirre's sanctuary.
 
The Reinholds became foster parents in July 1995 under a special license granted to take a godchild into their home. They later became eligible to take care of other children in the state's custody.
 
DFYS is looking into whether any of the other 20 or so foster children placed at the home suffered injuries there. Agency workers are attempting to review all of the children's medical records. DFYS also is examining how a second foster child came to be placed with the Reinholds just four days before Janessa was killed. Marcias Reinhold told police that she was frustrated by that child's constant crying.
 
DFYS hasn't released results from its investigation.
 
The Reinholds are scheduled for arraignment in Superior Court on Wednesday.
 
Daily News Reporter Lisa Demer and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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