Desaray Ballinger, 4, from UK passed away on July 9, 2017 after she was abused to death by her mother and mother's fiance.
Kelly Ballinger, 33, and fiancé Matthew Longenecker, 34, appeared in Kalamazoo County District Court where they were charged with murder and first-degree child abuse on Tuesday, a court official tells.
On Sunday, Kalamazoo police responded to a call of a child not breathing. CPR was performed on the child for nearly an hour before she was pronounced dead, according to a detective testimony on Tuesday.
The child’s body was allegedly covered in bruises and she appeared to have suffered from severe trauma, the detective stated. A police pathologist ruled her death a homicide.
The 911 call was made by the boyfriend’s mother shortly before 5 a.m., a family member told the network. During police questioning, the couple allegedly confessed to restraining the girl nightly for the past two weeks using duct tape and blankets. Text messages found on their phones allegedly corroborated their claims, a detective told the judge Tuesday.
The couple allegedly told investigators they would wrap the girl in blankets at night to form a “makeshift swaddle” with her face sometimes covered, the detective testified. The swaddle was then wrapped in duct tape to keep her inside. She would stay in the restraint, unable to remove, until the next morning, when she was unwrapped, the parents allegedly admitted, according to the detective.
On the day of her death, the girl’s face was covered, her mother told detectives, Michigan Live reports.
Two other children found in the home were taken into Child Protective Services. Both Bullinger and Longnecker were denied bond and appointed public defenders.
They have not yet entered a plea, a court official stated.
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