GREEN Bay, Wis. - Prosecutors have charged two people in a child abuse case that police have called one of the worst they've ever seen.
According to court documents, the investigation began last May when the child was brought to the hospital and was already dead. Police say she was "covered in bruises".
“No kid should go through what that girl went through,” said Det. Lt. Richard Belanger, with the Green Bay Police Dept. “Some terrible abuse to a 15 –month-old that ultimately led to her death.”
In court Monday, the child's mother, Sarah Kairys, was charged With Child Neglect Resulting in Death and Failure to Prevent Bodily Harm to a Child, both as party to a crime.
“It was determined that there was some neglect issues,” said Det. Lt. Belanger. “It was determined that she had knowledge, we believe, of these injuries going on with this child. And any one of us, whether we're parents or not should be reporting it. Should be getting that child some help, medical help, whatever the case may be. Take that kid out of the abusive home if that's the case.”
The mother’s boyfriend, Juan Maravilla, is facing charges of "First Degree Reckless Homicide and Repeated Physical Abuse of a Child Resulting in Death.
Court documents say at the hospital Kairys and Maravilla told police the child was sick and had fallen down the stairs. However, police say their stories did not match and timelines were wrong. Police also say they observed Maravilla was nervous and sweating at the hospital.
After further investigation and interviewing the suspects several times, Maravilla admitted to "accidentally making the child fall down the stairs", as well as hitting her other times.
In the criminal complaint, Maravilla told police, "I smacked her up because I got mad, I just got mad and I accidentally hit her".
In later questioning the mother told police she believed Maravilla might have had something to do with her daughter’s death. Kairys told police she notice that her child was hesitant to go near Maravilla and she noticed more bruises and the child started walking with a limp.
The autopsy results were just completed a few weeks ago, in April 2018. Investigators say that's why charges were filed in this case nearly a year after the death.
“We had to wait until that final report came across,” said Det. Lt. Belanger. “We wanted to be thorough. We know it takes time, but we also wanted people held accountable for their actions, especially in a case of a child.”
According to those autopsy results, the toddler died of blunt force injuries to the head and torso. There were also several internal injuries. Results also showed the toddler was malnourished. There were multiple viral and bacterial infections of the lungs and ears with no medical treatment.
Kairys has four other children, who are not in her custody.
In court on Monday, bond was set at $50,000 cash.
Maravilla is currently in prison on a probation hold from previous violation.