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Kinjal Patel, baby sitter killed toddler,New Haven
« Thread started on: Jan 28th, 2014, 6:42pm »
New Haven police charge babysitter with manslaughter in connection with toddler’s death
NEW HAVEN >> A babysitter charged with manslaughter after a 19-month-old she was caring for died of blunt force trauma allegedly changed her story multiple times as police investigated the toddler’s death, documents show.
Among the stories that Kinjal Patel, 26, told investigators were that the toddler in her care woke from a nap and began shaking or that he slipped on water that had fallen onto the floor while she was washing dishes, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
But Patel then contacted police and told them she wanted to tell the truth about what happened to Athiyan Sivakumar Jan. 16, the day he suffered the injuries that led to his death three days later, according to the warrant affidavit, and spoke to police with the aid of a translator.
Patel told police Athiyan was giving her a hard time about eating food, was making a mess and spat water in her face, the warrant affidavit says.
Then, Patel told police, she picked up the toddler by his arms and slammed his feet onto the kitchen floor about three times and then shook his head back and forth, the warrant says. Patel told police she then pushed Athiyan in the face and that he fell backward and hit his head, the warrant says.
Athiyan began to cry more than Patel had ever seen and he didn’t appear to have any control over his head and began to convulse and breathe abnormally, she told police, according to the warrant. She told investigators that she called Athiyan’s parents, who came and took him away to the hospital, according to the warrant.
The police investigation began after officers were called to the Yale-New Haven Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department Jan. 16 on complaint of possible risk of injury to a minor complaint, said police spokesman Officer David Hartman.
Athiyan, who was brought in for treatment, had a severely fractured skull, Hartman said. Doctors rushed to perform surgery while police went to a Weybosset Street address to investigate.
Athiyan was in critical condition. He died Jan. 19, according to the arrest warrant. The office of the chief state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide as a result of blunt force trauma with multiple sites of impact, the warrant says.
Police arrested Patel, of Middletown Avenue, and charged her with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a child. She is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
“Any homicide is a tragedy. None however is more tragic than that of an innocent young child,” Police Chief Dean Esserman said in a statement. “His death was senseless and has affected us deeply.”
Esserman also complimented the hard work and long hours detectives put into investigating the toddler’s death.
Under state law, first-degree manslaughter involves intent to cause serious physical injury to another person and that injury causes the death of that person or of a third person. Athiyan’s mother initially told police on Jan. 16 that she was home with the toddler when he fell after reaching for the front door knob while standing on the arm of the couch, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
But investigators learned of Patel after a state Department of Children and Families investigator told police that she responded to a possible risk of injury to a minor report at Yale-New Haven Hospital Dec. 24, 2013, for Athiyan, according to the arrest warrant.
Athiyan in December had a cut on the inside of his lip and tongue and a bruise to his chin, according to the arrest warrant.
Police later determined that Patel was babysitting for Athiyan Dec. 24 and detectives went to talk to Patel at her residence. That was when a nearby neighbor approached the detectives and said she wanted to speak to them, according to the arrest warrant.
The neighbor later told police that Athiyan was dropped off at the residence four to five times a week on a regular basis. The neighbor told police she heard a banging noise Jan. 16 that was so loud she thought her ceiling was coming down, according to the arrest warrant.
The neighbor told police that she heard several bangs and then heard a baby cry, followed by more bangs and more crying. Athiyan’s parents came minutes later by car.
The neighbor said Athiyan was limp as he was taken out of the house, according to the arrest warrant.
Police interviewed Patel, who allegedly changed her story multiple times, at first saying she only cared for Athiyan once, on Dec. 24, 2013, and that he fell off his toy car and sustained a lip injury, according to the arrest warrant.
But in another interview, she told investigators she typically watched the toddler four to five times a week for about six hours a day at her residence, the warrant says.
Then, on Jan. 24, Patel told police she wanted to tell the truth “because she lied to us for the last two days,” the arrest warrant says.