Bond was established at $1 million for a man accused of murder in the death of a child.
No plea was entered by Michael C.R. Stapleton Wednesday during a video arraignment hearing in the Champaign County Municipal Court.
Stapleton, 25, of North Lewisburg, was arrested and charged with murder and felonious assault Tuesday stemming from the death of 4-year-old Brett Jaynes of North Lewisburg on Sunday.
A court statement filed in the municipal court states the Champaign County Dispatch Center received a 911 call on Sunday at 254 Gunn St. The call was placed by Stapleton who the report states is a resident there and was acting as the primary caregiver and babysitter of six children, including Jaynes, on that date.
Stapleton reported the child was non-responsive and experiencing labored breathing. Emergency medical personnel were dispatched to the residence and Jaynes was found in a state of medical distress and in need of immediate emergency medical treatment. Jaynes was transported to Memorial Hospital of Union County before he was flown to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
Emergency medical treatment was given to Jaynes but he continued to go into cardiac arrest and eventually succumbed and was pronounced dead at 7:01 p.m. Sunday.
The court statement reports Chief Deputy Rick Jordan subsequently obtained medical records related to the hospital’s treatment of the child. The records for treatment of Jaynes on Sunday indicate that some of the obvious injuries were suspicious. Medical personnel noted that the child exhibited evidence of bruising including left frontotemporal in the pattern of knuckles from a closed fist.
After Jaynes was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office was granted access to observe the child’s body. Bruises were observed on the head, face, abdomen, buttocks and legs of the child.
Stapleton voluntarily came to the sheriff’s office where he was interviewed. He confirmed he was the primary caregiver of the child and was the adult who had access to the child on Sunday morning.
Stapleton indicated that Jaynes was generally healthy when the child went to bed the night before and that other than a slight bruise to the child’s forehead, the observed bruises and injuries to the child described above were not present when the child went to bed and were not present when the child woke up on Sunday.
Stapleton claimed Jaynes was in good health and acting normal Sunday morning. He also stated the child had vomited during the night and defecated on himself and was in need of a bath.
Stapleton claimed he bathed Jaynes on Sunday morning after he woke up. He stated the child fell backwards one time during the bathing process and hit the back of his head.
Other than crying for a little bit from the fall, Stapleton claimed Jaynes was fine.
Stapleton then claimed he put Jaynes to bed after the bath claiming the child was still sleepy. When he put the child to bed, Stapleton said the child was fine with no unusual injuries but found him in a state of medical distress when he checked on him later.
A subsequent medical exam was conducted by the Franklin County Coroner’s Office. The physical evidence observed during the medical exam revealed injuries to Jaynes that were contrary to and inconsistent with Stapleton’s claim that the child was injured by falling one time in the bath tub.
Champaign County Sheriff Detective Carl Loney and other investigators were present during the medical exam of Jaynes and had the opportunity to speak with the medical examiner.
The medical examiner made the preliminary conclusion that the cause of death was homicide as a result of a hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen and the head, causing internal bleeding.
The court statement notes that Stapleton’s own statement indicates that he was the only adult present who had access to Jaynes at the residence and the ability to cause the injuries observed by medical personnel on Sunday morning.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Stapleton was appointed attorney Kirk Ellis and a preliminary hearing in the municipal court is scheduled for Dec. 10.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.