A California woman is behind bars after police say she killed her 4-year-old stepson then claimed it was accidental. On Thursday she pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
Daily Press reports that officers with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department arrested 24-year-old Rose Marie Schmittle and charged her with murder and “assault on a child causing death.”
According to court documents, someone requested medical help to a home off of Rhineland Drive in Fort Irwin on June 7, at around 5 p.m.. When paramedics arrived, they found 4-year-old Benjamin Schmittle unresponsive. Although medical professionals rushed the little boy to a local base hospital, he was airlifted and take to the Loma Linda University Medical Center “due to the severity of his injuries,” authorities stated.
The following day at around 5:20 p.m., little Benjamin died. Skeptical authorities began investigating the incident and determined that despite Schmittle’s claims that the boy had an accident, interviews with family members indicated the injuries were reportedly intentional.
“During their investigation, detectives received information that Benjamin’s injuries were not accidental,” officials later said.
Authorities took Schmittle into custody shortly after Benjamin’s death. She’s currently behind bars without bail at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
The boy lived with his father, Army helicopter pilot James Schmittle, and the suspect at the time of his. His biological mother, Jacqueline Brockman, traveled in from another state to be by Benjamin’s side before he passed.
The investigation continues. Anyone with any information should contact Detective David Lara of the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail at 909-387-3589. For anonymous tips, contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-782-7463 or visit online at www.wetip.com.
According to SBSD, no additional information is available at this time.
[Feature Photo: Benjamin Schmittle/GoFundMe]