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Coroner rules Kansas toddler’s death a homicide

August 6, 2019

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A coroner has ruled a Kansas toddler’s death a homicide and determined the 2-year-old died of dehydration and malnutrition after being bound in pajamas.

Police found Zaiden Javonovich face down in a crib on April 11 after a neighbor reported a possible domestic disturbance at the family’s Wichita mobile home, The Wichita Eagle reported . His 4-month-old brother was found critically injured.

Zaiden’s mother, Brandi Marchant, 22, and his father, Patrick Javonovich, 28, are charged with felony murder and child abuse in his death.

Zaiden was swaddled and bound tightly around his chest with a pair of pajamas knotted at the arms when police found him. According to an autopsy report, the tight swaddling might have led to asphyxia and could have also contributed to his death.

Marchant told police that she would bind Zaiden so he wouldn’t crawl out of his crib while she slept, according to court documents. She told police she went to bed at 6 a.m. April 11 and slept the rest of the day without getting up to check on Zaiden or his brother. She said she didn’t know he was dead.

According to the autopsy, Zaiden weighed less than 15 pounds, about half the weight of a typical 2-year-old, and had abrasions on his lips and nose — possible signs of abuse. The autopsy found methamphetamine in his brain.

At least 22 separate 911 calls informed operators about a “dangerous environment” in the home before Zaiden’s death.

Most of the emergency calls came from Zaiden’s parents. Other calls were from the children’s grandmother, who was asking for help for the children. The calls included shouting, allegations of domestic violence, and a woman crying and asking for help.

In November 2017, the Department of Children and Families investigated possible emotional abuse after a report that Marchant made homicidal and suicidal statements in front of the children. One child who reported a homicidal statement mentioned Zaiden, according to the report. Several people were interviewed but investigators could not substantiate the claim.

A year later, the department was told the younger boy tested positive for marijuana at birth. The case could not be investigated as an abuse/neglect case because medical officials did not indicate the boy’s health was hurt by marijuana use, the summary states.

Instead, a Family in Need of Assessment case was started. A social worker who met with the couple found both children appearing healthy, with all necessary supplies for the infant, according to the report. The parents, who are not married, completed a federally required plan of safe care and in another visit, Marchant completed a Department of Children and Families safety plan. The case was closed Jan. 14.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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