Pediatrician Charged In Connection With Child's Death

Date: 2010-07-12

MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. – A pediatrician and her husband have been indicted in connection with the death of their 4-year-old adopted daughter.

Dr. Deborah Mark and her husband Steven turned themselves in to police Monday after a grand jury indicted them on charges related to the death of their daughter, Kairissa.

"This is a very serious case. It's a child that's defenseless," said Mt. Juliet Police Chief Andy Garrett.

Deborah Mark has been charged with first degree murder, perpetration of aggravated child abuse, aggravated child abuse and four counts of child abuse. Steven Mark has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, criminal responsibility for aggravated child abuse, aggravated assault by failure to protect, four counts of child abuse, and accessory after the fact.

Kairissa was rushed from the family's home on Laurel Hill Drive in the Providence neighborhood to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital with serious injuries on July 1. She died from her injuries the next day.

After examining her body, investigators found bruises from her head to her toes. They believe the wounds were inflicted by both hand and by objects.

Since then, the Mount Juliet Police Department along with District Attorney's office, Wilson County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Children's Service to investigate the case.

Detectives said little Kairissa had been adopted from China in April. Deborah Mark is a pediatrician who was working at Centennial Pediatrics in Lebanon at the time of her daughter's death. Calls to Centennial Pediatrics' corporate office in Nashville were not returned.

In June, Dr. Mark examined Brianna O'Brien's one-and-a-half year old baby Shawn.

"I am absolutely stunned," said O'Brien of the charges. "Just to know that something could have happened to (my child) makes me very nervous. And I probably won't be coming back."

Dr. Deborah Mark and her husband also have an 8-year-old biological child who was placed in DCS custody.

Both parents have been released on bond. A court date has been scheduled for July 23

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