Police have arrested a Michigan couple and accused them of killing the woman’s 4-year-old daughter by repeatedly restraining the toddler in bed by wrapping her in blankets held together by duct tape, according to PEOPLE.
Kelly Ballinger, 33, and boyfriend Matthew Longenecker, 34, were charged with murder and first-degree child abuse on Tuesday.
The tragedy played out on Sunday, when Kalamazoo police responded to a call of a child not breathing. The unnamed child had CPR performed on her for over an hour before she was officially pronounced dead, according to testimony delivered in court by a detective. Police have also reported that her body was covered in bruises, a clear sign of severe trauma.
A police pathologist ruled the little girl’s death a homicide, but how her caretakers allegedly killed the toddler is absolutely shocking. They repeatedly trapped her in bed, using blankets and duct tape, according to court testimony. Ballinger and Longenecker allegedly told investigators that this was a “makeshift swaddle,” and the little girl would be trapped in bed all night until they removed the duct tape and blankets in the morning. Sometimes, according to police, her face would even be covered.
On the night of her death, her face was indeed covered, as reported by Michigan Live. Ballinger and Longnecker had been cruelly restraining the 4-year-old in this fashion for at least two weeks, according to court testimony delivered by Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Detective Sheila Goodell.
Kalamazoo Cpt. Shannon Bagley, who is involved with the investigation, spoke to WWMT about the severity of the abuse the innocent child was forced to endure.
“I’m a parent. Anytime kids are involved I have a soft spot. Of course it’s a horrific thing,” she said.
There were also two other children living in the home. Thankfully, they were taken into Child Protective Services. Bullinger and Longnecker were denied bond and appointed public defenders. They have yet to enter a plea. They’ll be back in court on August 1 for preliminary examinations.
[Featured Image: Kalamazoo Police Department]