A Gary man was charged September 15 in the beating death of his 18-month-old daughter.
Casey Lee Marqui Burnett, 22, has been charged with murder, Level 1 felony aggravated battery and Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, according to court records. Burnett is in the Lake County Jail without bond, records show. A probable cause affidavit says his daughter, Kylee Burnett, died as a result of injuries consistent with shaken-baby syndrome.
The charges came on the heels of Burnett getting charged with aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, both Level 3 felonies. According to court records, those charges are still pending.
The victim’s mother, according to a probable cause affidavit, told police that she went to work around 8:45 p.m. after picking up Burnett and another relative from work at around 8 p.m. Friday, September 9. She left work early, at midnight September 10, because she wasn’t feeling well, records said.
She went to the victim’s bedroom and found her lying face-down in a pillow with blankets completely covering her in her crib, the affidavit said. The baby was unresponsive, she told police, was unresponsive.
After calling 911 and Burnett trying to administer CPR on the baby, the mother and another relative were headed to Methodist Hospital’s Northlake campus in Gary but flagged down a Gary Fire Department medic before they got there, records show. Medics got the baby to the hospital, where she was later transferred to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, records said.
Doctors at Comer Children’s Hospital said the girl suffered “severe hypoxic injury and herniation to the brain, extensive retinal hemorrhages and lacerations to the liver and spleen,” the affidavit states. A Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office report stated she was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the hospital.
When questioned by police, records show Burnett told them after he and a relative “chilled” by smoking a joint, he gave her and the other children in his care melatonin about 11 p.m. to help them sleep. He told authorities he put his daughter down on her stomach and covered her halfway with a blanket while his son played with a relative’s cell phone.
Burnett said he went downstairs but returned about five minutes later to check on the children after heard something upstairs. He discovered his daughter was out of bed, so he put her back in bed by placing her flat on her stomach, covering her halfway, he told police.
When confronted with his daughter’s death, Burnett repeatedly said he didn’t cause her injuries and thought they could’ve happened while he was performing CPR on her, records said. He would not, however, submit to computer voice stress analysis because “wasn’t in the right state of mind to participate.”
Michelle L. Quinn is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.