UC couple’s grandchild dies; mother’s boyfriend charged
By: AP, staff reports
From AP, staff reports
NEW CASTLE, Ind. — A pending charge has been upgraded against a man accused of beating a 3-year-old girl who died from her injuries.
Kaitlynne Jennings of New Castle, granddaughter of William “J.B.” and Kathy Jennings of Union City, was pronounced dead in Methodist Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit Friday evening, four days after she was found unconscious.
The Marion County coroner’s office said her death was caused by blunt force trauma to her head. Authorities said her injuries included two skull fractures, bleeding in the brain and a broken neck.
Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane had said Sunday that the charge pending against Jeremiah A. Hoots, 29, live-in boyfriend of the girl’s mother, would likely be changed. Hoots was being held in the Henry County jail Sunday under a $140,000 bond, charged with battery, a felony carrying a prison term of six to 20 years.
Crane on Wednesday upgraded the pending charge, with the battery charge against Hoots now a class A felony carrying a maximum 50-year prison term. The Indiana legislature added a provision in the state’s battery statute in 2002 making the crime a class A felony “if it results in the death of a person less than 14 years of age and is committed by a person at least 18 years of age.”
The little girl’s mother, Krystal A. Pollit, called authorities on Dec. 17 after finding her daughter unresponsive. The girl was taken to Henry County Hospital, then flown by air ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
One of the victim’s two young brothers told investigators Hoots had tried to persuade him to take the blame for the girl’s injuries. Hoots, meanwhile, told police the girl was hurt while wrestling with her brothers.
Both boys denied hurting their sister, and authorities said her injuries were not consistent with those that could have been caused by other young children.
“We look to be filing paperwork to upgrade charges,” Crane said.
Kaitlynne was born Oct. 19, 2004, in New Castle, Ind., daughter of Ms. Pollitt of New Castle and Jeb A. Jennings of Cambridge City, Ind.
Services will be 1 p.m. Sat-urday at Culbertson Funeral Home in Hagerstown, Ind. Friends may call there 4-7 p.m. Friday.
The family requests that memorials be made to Kaitlynne Jennings Memorial Fund, in care of First Bank of Richmond in Richmond, Ind.
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com Published in The Messenger 12.27.07