New details have emerged in the case of a Kentucky couple accused of killing a 4-year-old girl in their care who was last seen alive by family and friends in September before she was reported missing earlier this month. Authorities are now saying that 24-year-old Brittany Slaughter and her 34-year-old boyfriend, Adam Hayes, both of whom were arrested last week, had a history of physically abusing the victim, 4-year-old Chloe Darnel.
The duo are both facing charges for murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Slaughter is Chloe’s cousin and had custody of the child when she died.
The newly revealed background information came out during the suspects’ preliminary hearings on Monday morning.
According to a report from Lexington, Kentucky, CBS and CW affiliate WKYT, a deputy with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department testified that when authorities were able to locate Slaughter, she was hiding out in a home in Cumberland Falls, which is about 15 miles northwest of the couples’ home in Williamsburg. Upon being discovered, she allegedly told police that she was attempting to avoid being found.
Per WKYT, she allegedly told police that Chloe didn’t actually go missing, as she reported earlier this month. Instead, she reportedly said that the little girl climbed on a shelf in her bedroom and fell off sometime in August of this year. Slaughter reportedly told police that she didn’t seek medical attention because she was high on illegal narcotics at the time of the alleged accident, which resulted in Chloe’s death.
Hayes also reportedly told authorities that the child’s death was an accident and provided the same story about Chloe falling off of the shelf, which is about five feet from the ground. He reiterated that they did not call authorities because they were “high,” but said they attempted to perform CPR on the child.
Testimony also revealed that Hayes was the primary disciplinarian in the relationship, according to The News Journal. Lt. David Lassiter reportedly told the court that Hayes would physically abuse Chloe for doing things typical of a 4-year-old, such as soiling or wetting herself.
A preliminary autopsy reportedly could not determine the cause or manner of Chloe’s death. However, the exam did reveal that the child suffered multiple fractures to her skull and had ribs that were both fractured and separated.
Prosecutors said that doctors were still trying to determine when Chloe suffered the fractures, emphasizing that such information would essentially determine whether the couple would ultimately be charged with killing Chloe in an “intentional” or “wanton” manner, WKYT reported.
“Heartbreaking,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling told WKRY after the hearing. “It really grows old prosecuting homicides in general with children. It is gut-wrenching. I have re-tooled a lot of my office for me just to work on these kinds of cases, which makes a hard day’s work.”
Slaughter is currently being held on $250,000 bond while Hayes is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond.
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