Deputies Search For Woman Charged In Death Of Infant

Relates to:
Date: 1991-02-27

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: By Marianna Riley

Officials in St. Charles County said Tuesday that they were seeking the woman charged with killing the 10-month-old baby she was trying to adopt.

The woman, Doris J. Ravenscraft, 31, and her husband, Kenneth Ray Ravenscraft, were last seen Thursday, officials say. Sheriff's deputies spent most of Tuesday trying to serve her with the arrest warrant.

Doris Ravenscraft was charged Monday with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault in the death of Rachel Collins. Bond was set at $35,000.

The baby died of head injuries Feb. 9 at St. Louis Children's Hospital. She had lived with the Ravenscrafts about eight months, authorities say.

The involuntary manslaughter charge alleges that Doris Ravenscraft inflicted the head injuries Feb. 7. The assault charge alleges she broke Rachel's leg between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4.

Both are felonies, and each carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

An official for the Missouri Department of Social Services said Monday that the Ravenscrafts had been checked before they were allowed to proceed with adopting Rachel.

Marilynn Knipp, the director of communications for the department, said, ''My indication is, the home study was done, everything looked OK, so the adoption proceeded as normal.''

In such a study, officials look into the family background to check for police records, drug history or any complaints that have been made to the division's Child Abuse Hotline.

Mary Bazzell, a neighbor, said the Ravenscrafts had moved into the house they are renting in the 800 block of Butterfly Lane in June. Neighbors said they had little contact with them.

Kenneth Ravenscraft's father, Emmett Ravenscraft of Wright City, said that the couple was married about two years ago. He said his son had two children by previous marriages and that another daughter had died in a freak boating accident.

Emmett Ravenscraft said he had once been in business with his son but had fallen out with him and not seen him since August.

SOURCE: Kim Bell of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed information for this story.

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