Two young parents are being charged with murdering their 22-month-old toddler after the child was found lifeless, suffering from severe abdominal injuries allegedly stemming from repeated blows to the body.
According to the Daily Mail, the toddler’s parents, Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31, phoned authorities at 4:30 a.m. after their child stopped breathing. When paramedics arrived on scene, they found the toddler lying on the floor with his eyes open but his lips blue.
After being rushed to the hospital with no pulse, the boy was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m. A post-mortem examination found that the boy’s intestines had been severed into two pieces, the product of “significant” blows to the body.
Cassin and Piper were subsequently arrested due to the severity of the injuries that medical examiners found incapable of being purely accidental.
While speaking to the jury, prosecutor Timothy Raggatt went into gripping detail, painting an otherwise heartless depiction of the two parents’ behavior leading up to the death of their child.
“This case is about the death of a 22-month-old boy,” said Raggatt. “It is the death of a child through quite extreme violence and is going to be quite emotive. Danielle took a sheet to her mother's the night before Levi died, and asked her mother if she thought the stains on the blanket could be Levi's stomach lining.”
Cassin's visiting her mother the night before the toddler’s death is allegedly damning evidence for a charge of child neglect. When a parent refuses or fails to provide medical assistance for child neglect, charges can be brought up.
It remains possible that Cassin might not have known what had happened to the toddler regarding the injuries to the abdomen, but asking about “stomach lining” seems to depict a scene in which Cassin knew assistance should be sought.
Raggatt continued on to address the jury, saying: “Both parents have persistently declined to tell the truth about what happened during that time, but Levi died as a result of abdominal injuries. They were very significant, major internal injuries.”
According to medical examiners who performed the autopsy, the toddler’s injuries were caused from blows that were struck with the same force of falling from a three-story building.
“One person can do the damage, but if the other supports or connives, then they are guilty too,” said Raggatt. “Both parents are yet to tell the truth, so we simply do not know why this happened, and we may never know.”