COLUMBIA CITY — A Whitley County caregiver was charged in the death of a 1-year-old after the child allegedly suffered a fatal skull fracture while in her care.
Courtney Kincaid, 29, of Columbia City, was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated battery, a Level 1 felony; neglect of a dependent causing death, a Level 1 felony; and battery resulting in death to a person less than 14 years old, a Level 2 felony.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the child was injured, and later died, after being in the care of Kincaid.
“Something either struck the head of the child, or the child’s head was struck against something,” one of the child’s physicians told investigators, according to the affidavit. “It would take a significant amount of force to fracture the skull of a 1-year-old because their skull is still soft.”
Kincaid told police several different renditions of what happened that day — ranging from no indication of injury at all, to her dropping the child on a concrete patio, court documents state.
She allegedly told police that the infant was taking a nap and she heard her make a noise. When she checked on her, she was foaming at the mouth and her arms were limp.
Earlier that day, Kincaid reportedly sent a video of the sleeping infant to her mother, stating that the child was “getting comfortable at her house.”
Dr. Darin Wolfe, a board certified forensic pathologist, conducted the autopsy, indicating the child’s cause of death was “blunt force traumatic injuries to the head,” and the cause of death was, “homicide.”
Kincaid agreed to a polygraph test with the Indiana State Police, and after answering a series of questions regarding the infant’s injury and death, the results indicated that Kincaid was being deceptive, the affidavit states.
Charges were passed down more than one year after the child’s death, April 2018, after a lengthy investigation by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police.
Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler said he wanted the case to be investigated thoroughly before making a decision.
“Anytime you have a child who has died, you need to take every opportunity to make sure you’re doing the right thing — to make sure you have every piece of evidence you can possibly have before you make a decision to prosecute,” Sigler said.
Sigler said the case had a “substantial amount” of medical evidence, and investigators took time to talk to all involved.
“It’s a terribly serious matter,” Sigler said.
Though the investigation was lengthy, Kincaid’s babysitting operation ceased immediately following the child’s death, and other families with children in her care were notified and interviewed by police.
Kincaid was booked into the Whitley County Jail on May 29 and released six hours later on a $200,000 surety bond. She is slated to appear in Whitley Circuit Court on June 3 at 9 a.m.