A 38-year-old baby sitter in Ohio will likely spend several years behind bars after effectively admitting to killing a 21-month-old child who died of traumatic head trauma while under her care last year.
Kori A. Seavers this week pleaded to one count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of endangering children, and one count of felonious assault in the brutal death of young William Bova, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
An Alford plea is functionally equivalent to a guilty plea in that it results in a conviction, but it allows a defendant to maintain their claim of innocence while conceding that the state has sufficient evidence to convict them at trial.
According to a report from the Sandusky Register, officers with the Freemont Police Department on Sept. 20, 2022, responded to a residence in the 600 block of Sixth Street on a call about an unresponsive toddler.
Seavers, who placed the emergency call, was the resident of the home and had been running a day care business from the residence, watching multiple children daily. At the time, she was also baby-sitting the victim’s 4-year-old sister, among other kids.
Once there, first responders said they found the child unconscious and not breathing inside the in-home day care and took him to a hospital for treatment. He was later transferred to a children’s hospital in Toledo, where William succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead on Sept. 24.
In an interview with investigators, Seavers told authorities that earlier in the day, she had left William unattended for about two minutes while she made him a bottle. When she returned, she changed his diaper and then sat him upright. Soon after, Seavers claimed the child “fell forward with his face on the floor,” Toledo, Ohio CBS affiliate WTOL reported. She reportedly said that when she picked him up, he was completely limp and unresponsive, leading her to call 911.
The baby sitter reportedly told authorities that such self-harming behavior was typical for William, which the toddler’s family members said was true.
However, the doctors who treated the child said it would be nearly impossible for him to have caused his own injuries.
“I have never seen injuries this severe that were caused by a child falling down,” one of the victim’s doctors reportedly told Fremont police officers, per WTOL.
The toddler reportedly suffered bleeding in the cavity between the skull and brain, “extensive” retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes and a shifting of his brain. His condition was so severe that doctors placed William in a medically induced coma.
Doctors reportedly told police that it was very unlikely that William’s injuries could have been self-inflicted, as he had not suffered any contusions or trauma to the outside of his head, leading doctors to describe his death as “nonaccidental” and “consistent with shaken baby syndrome,” per WTOL.
Medical experts reportedly also said that the effects of the injury would have been noticeable almost immediately afterward.
Investigators also reportedly emphasized that during interviews with police, Seavers — who had reportedly been regularly watching William and his sister for more than a year — told stories about what happened to the victim that were “all over the place.”
Seavers is scheduled to appear in court again on Jan. 24 for her sentencing hearing.
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