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'Suspicious' death in North Newton had Peabody ties

Charges filed late Tuesday in child’s death

Staff writer

A press release issued by Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday lists charges filed against former Peabody resident Chad D. Carr, 26, in connection with the death of 19-month-old Vincent Hill Saturday in North Newton.

Walton filed two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of abuse of a child against Carr. Bond was set at $150,000.

Carr was the live-in boyfriend of the mother of the toddler.

Walton noted that the investigation continues and other charges may be filed.

An additional investigation into reports of neighbors calling authorities about yelling and screaming at the child’s home has revealed that a “concern had been called into the SRS abuse center on Jan. 20.”

The press release indicates that “the report was screened out by SRS. The screening said the report did not indicate harm to the child or [give any] indication the child was being physically harmed. The report was never forwarded to any law enforcement agency for follow-up.”

While the early investigation called the death “suspicious,” Harvey County law enforcement officers at a Monday press conference stopped short of actually saying a 19-month-old male child who died Saturday was murdered.

No formal charges were filed in the child’s death until Tuesday.

According to Melissa Flavin, administrative assistant to Harvey County Sheriff, T. Walton, said a Peabody connection was announced in a press conference Monday.

Walton, North Newton Police Chief Ray Classen, and Harvey County Attorney David Yoder issued statements and took questions from the press at the Monday morning news briefing.

An adult male called 911 at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday from a duplex in North Newton. The caller, now known to be Carr, said a child was unresponsive and not breathing. The dispatcher kept the caller on the line and gave him instructions for performing CPR. After emergency personnel arrived, the child was taken to Newton Medical Center and he was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m.

Carr was arrested later Saturday evening for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia found during the execution of a search warrant at the residence where the child died. According to Flavin, he had not been formally charged because law enforcement was awaiting the completion of an autopsy on the child.

The mother and a 6-week-old infant were in Wichita at a baby shower when the boy died.

“The infant was placed in protective custody with a relative,” Flavin said. “She is with her great-grandmother. There were no visible injuries on the infant.”

“The boy’s death was termed ‘suspicious’ based on the injuries on his body and interviews conducted by the officers,” she said.

“He had a broken left clavicle and a spiral fracture to his right tibia.”

During the press conference Classen said, “He was covered from head to toe with past and present bruises. This was not a one-time occurrence.”

The mother told law enforcement officers that the boy had fallen down four or five carpeted steps the day before his death. Officers at the scene said the injuries were not consistent with that type of a fall, according to Flavin.

Attorney Yoder added, “No one has a legal obligation to report suspicious behavior, but we all want to protect the children. If you are concerned or suspect abuse call 911to make a report.”

Flavin reported that the family had lived in North Newton since November.

Services for Vincent Hill will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Peabody United Methodist Church. Visitation with the family will be 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Baker Funeral Home in Peabody.

A complete obituary is published elsewhere in this paper.

Last modified April 1, 2010

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