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Child dies after 2 Bloomington women arrested for alleged abuse

POSTED AT 01:26 PM ON Jul. 19, 2012 

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A 2-year-old Bloomington girl who suffered from a severe head injury and had difficulty breathing, believed to be caused by child abuse, died at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

The girl’s mother, Tameria Kline, and the mother’s girlfriend, Dominique Irby, were arrested by the Bloomington Police Department Tuesday evening after admitting that Irby had abused the child on several occasions while Kline watched and gave consent, said BPD Detective Sgt. John Kovach.

Irby, 20, was booked into the Monroe County Jail at about 3:16 a.m. Wednesday and faces a preliminary charge of battery on a minor, a Class D felony.

Kline, 23, was booked into the Monroe County Jail at about 3:16 a.m. Wednesday and faces preliminary charges of neglect of a dependant child, a Class D felony.

Both Irby and Kline denied causing the severe head injury, Kovach said. Detectives continue to investigate the case and coordinate with the medical staff at Riley to determine what caused the brain injury.

Kovach said the Marion County Coroner’s Office is expected to conduct an autopsy on the baby Friday. Once the findings of the autopsy become available to BPD, detectives will consult with the prosecutor’s office for possible additional charges.

At about 8:19 p.m. Tuesday, officers and detectives responded to the 2300 block of South Henderson Street after Kline called 911 because her daughter was having difficulty breathing, Kovach said.

When officers arrived at the scene, emergency medical technicians from IU Health Bloomington Hospital and firefighters from the Bloomington Fire Department were already providing medical care to the child.

Kovach said the girl was located on the floor in an upstairs bedroom. She was transported by ambulance to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where hospital staff told police the child had a severe head injury and bruising from what appeared to be older injuries.

She was later transported by helicopter to Riley Hospital for Children.

Detectives then interviewed Kline, Irby, and at least four other individuals, all of whom were in the apartment at the time.

Although only one woman’s name appears on the apartment’s lease, she told police she allows people to stay at her apartment when they have nowhere else to go.

Irby and Kline had been staying in the apartment for several days before the incident, Kovach said.

During her interview with detectives, Irby admitted to disciplining the child several times in the past.

On one occasion, she admitted to spanking the child with a belt, leaving welts. On another occasion, Irby said she tied the child’s arms and legs together with a T-shirt to prevent her from ripping out her hair.

Irby also locked the child inside the bathroom with the door shut and lights off as a form of punishment, she told police.

During their interviews with authorities, each of the people inside the apartment said they were hanging out downstairs. One was making dinner. They all rushed upstairs after Irby went upstairs to check on the baby and yelled for help.

When police arrived, Kovach said they did not observe any other illegal activity. The other witnesses inside the residence were not arrested.

—Mark Keierleber

 

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