An Indiana woman is facing a sole count of child neglect in connection with the death of her 47-day-old infant son. According to court records, Megan Elizabeth Ford, 35, is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury. The charge is a Level 3 felony, those records indicate.
A probable cause affidavit filed on March 25, 2022 and obtained by Law&Crime says an Allen County Police Department officer responded to an address in Yoder, Indiana, at 11:14 a.m. on May 26, 2021 “in response to an unresponsive infant.” The baby was taken to the hospital but later died.
Ford told the responding officers that she was driving to visit her mother in Yoder from nearby Ft. Wayne. She described the infant, whose name is redacted in portions of the document but who appears to elsewhere be identified therein as “Kai,” as “a little fussy when putting him [in] the car seat.”
“During the twelve to fifteen minute drive to [her mother’s] house, the Defendant thought [the victim] fell asleep,” the document reads. “Upon arrival at [the mother’s] house on Prine Road, the Defendant and [her mother] observed [the victim] was unresponsive, had blood coming from his nose and mouth, and appeared to be bluish in color.”
Lifesaving efforts proved futile.
During an autopsy, officials “observed a bruise” on the infant’s abdomen that “matched up perfectly to where the buckles would have been strapped on [the victim] when he was placed into the car seat,” the document continues.
The paperwork suggests the authorities attempted to place the infant’s body back into the car seat to check how the buckles would have fallen across him when he was alive.
“The straps were not able to be buckled, but it was uncertain how much [the victim] may have been swollen due to CPR chest compressions,” it notes.
A doctor quoted in court records posited that “the blood from his mouth and nose could have been from his lungs, due to the pressure of the asphyxiation.”
The child suffered five broken ribs, which the doctor “said was a little high” for damage that might be caused by CPR. “However, he could not rule that out as the cause of the broken ribs,” the document adds.
The cause of death was “probable mechanical asphyxia due to chest and abdomen compression,” according to an autopsy report cited in the probable cause affidavit.
During a subsequent police interview, the defendant said the victim’s birth weight was four pounds, 14 ounces, and that the victim last had a checkup a few days before he died. At that checkup, he weighed eight pounds, two ounces.
The defendant explained further, according to the affidavit:
The Defendant admitted the straps had not been adjusted since they left the hospital She knew they were getting tight on [the victim] and that they needed [to be] adjusted. The Defendant was going to have her mother help her adjust the straps after she arrived on the 26th. The Defendant admitted she knew the straps were tight two days prior when she took [the victim] to his doctor’s appointment.
Using the actual seat and a “like-size doll,” the defendant then allegedly showed the police how she put the infant into the seat. She “demonstrated and explained how she would have to move his lower body down into the seat to get the straps over his shoulders,” the affidavit reads.
Quentin Hoskins, the victim’s father, told the police he warned the defendant that the straps on the car seat were “getting too tight” a few days before the infant died.
“I could barely get him in the car seat,” Hoskins said, per the affidavit.
Hoskins said the victim was his first child and that neither he nor Ford, the defendant, knew how to adjust the straps in the car seat. He also demonstrated using a doll how tight the straps would have been when the infant was strapped into the seat.
“The Defendant said she received the car seat as a gift from [her mother],” the document concludes. “She discarded the box and instructions after she removed the seat from the box.”
The author of the probable cause affidavit said an internet search easily revealed a copy of the owner’s manual which explained how to adjust the seat.
Judge David M. Zent found probable cause for Ford’s arrest on March 7, 2022, according to an online court docket.
According to online jail records, Ford bonded out of custody. Court records say a judge agreed to a surety bond of $10,000 and issued an order for monitored conditional release.
An online obituary indicates that the infant’s name was Kai Hunter Hoskins. He was just 47 days old, according to the obit. It reads, in part, as follows:
Kai Hunter Hoskins came into the world unexpectedly early on April 9, 2021 and left the same way just 47 days later on May 26, 2021. He was a sweet, content, and easy baby. He only cried when he was hungry and would frantically search for food with his little mouth like a baby bird. Kai was most content and happy when being held.
A photo collage of the infant is contained on the obituary page.
The defendant, who is listed in court records under a Fort Wayne address, is due back in court on May 23, 2022, at 9:30 a.m., according to those same records.
Under Indiana law, a Level 3 felony is generally punishable by between three and 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The “advisory sentence” is nine years, the state statute explicitly indicates.
Ford’s two defense attorneys of record did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for reaction or comment. If a response is received, this report will be updated.
Read the complete probable cause affidavit below:
[image via jail mugshot]
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