Viburnum, MO (KSDK) - The Missouri State Highway Patrol charged an Iron County woman in connection with the beating death of her three-year-old nephew.
According to a report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Iron County Ambulance District responded to a call of an unresponsive child at a residence on Walnut Street on March 22 at 12:16 p.m. EMTs found three-year-old Eric Kelly unresponsive. The boy was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
Upon the boy's arrival, hospital staff suspected the child was the victim of abuse and contacted state police.
State police learned the boy was being watched by his aunt, Marcia Kelly.
She told investigators she was the only adult in the house watching Eric and her own son. After feeding the two children lunch, Kelly said she helped Eric out of his chair and was going to get her son when she heard Eric fall in the living room.
Marcia Kelly said she immediately contacted her mother and dialed 911 when the boy failed to respond.
Cardinal Glennon staff reported Eric Kelly suffered bleeding inside the skull, bleeding within the eyes and two bruises on the forehead. Police said the hospital indicated those injuries are inconsistent with claims of the child falling down.
Eric Kelly was pronounced dead on March 23 at 11:20 p.m. at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.
The St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on March 26 and ruled the boy's death was the result of a brain injury. The coroner also found a lesion on the inside of the boy's upper lip, an injury consistent in child abuse cases.
As a result of the medical examiner's report and its own investigation, state police charged Marcia Kelly with second-degree murder on March 29.