WHITLEY — InkFreeNews has obtained a copy of the affidavit of probable cause for the arrest of a babysitter following the death of 11-month-old Emma Grace.
Courtney Leann Kincaid, 29, Columbia City, is being charged with aggravated battery, a level 1 felony; neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a level 1 felony; and battery with death to a person under 14 years old, a level 2 felony.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a detective with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department received a report of serious injury to an infant, Emma Grace Leeman, on April 12, 2018. The officer, along with a Department of Child Services caseworker responded to the hospital where the child was being treated.
The parents of the child reported that Emma had been left with a babysitter, Kincaid, that morning at 7 a.m. The parents said Emma had recently had a fever, but that only a running nose continued. They also reported the child had suffered a black eye and small laceration to one of her eyelids in early March while under Kincaid’s care.
Officers then received a search warrant for Kincaid’s residence in Whitley County. Kincaid confirmed to the officers that Emma was acting tired, the same as every morning. When recalling the events of the morning, Kincaid never mentioned falls or injuries occurring to Emma.
A pediatrician then told the officer that, in his opinion, the injury could not have happened prior to being left with Kincaid at 7 a.m. The physician showed the officer the head CT, which showed a shift in the brain caused by bleeding and pressure, along with swelling and a fracture to the skill. The physician said it would take a significant amount of force to cause this injury, because the skull of a child that age is still soft. In his opinion, the injury was caused by something striking the child’s head.
Emma died later that day from her injuries.
A deputy with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department reported being the first responder on the scene and said he was met by Kincaid, who was holding Emma. Kincaid told the officer that she laid Emma down for a nap, but noticed she was foaming at the mouth and that her body later went limp. The officer reported detecting a pulse on Emma, but did not observe any breathing. EMS personnel arrived and assisted with Emma’s care. Kincaid did not report any fall or injury that occurred to Emma. EMS personnel reported that Kincaid told them the same sequence of events.
Kincaid, formally interviewed on April 13, confirmed that Emma had arrived at her home at 7 a.m. and said she was smiling and playing. She said that Emma was sleeping when she began to cough and choke. Kincaid advised that she picked up Emma, noticed she was heavy and limp, called 911 and started performing CPR. Kincaid said she did hit and shake Emma at that point to get a response.
A board-certified forensic pathologist conducted the autopsy on Emma and reported the cause of death as “blunt force traumatic injuries to the head” and ruled the death a homicide. He said the child suffered optic nerve hemorrhages that are usually a result of continued force being exerted on the brain and that he was concerned about there not being a logical description of events immediately given by the caretaker.
The neurosurgeon who performed the craniectomy reported he saw massive swelling prior to conducting the craniectomy and a linear skull fracture. He said significant force is required to cause this magnitude of trauma and that he has seen this kind of “catastrophic injury” in motor vehicle crashes. In his opinion, the injuries are inconsistent with the history given by the babysitter. Two other medical professionals gave similar opinions.
A polygraph test was given to Kincaid by the Indiana State Police on Aug. 10, 2018. During the interview, Kincaid repeated the story that Emma was sleeping, and when she went to check on her, she noticed she was limp and called 911. Then Kincaid added that earlier in the week, other children had knocked Emma down and caused “road rash” on her head. She also said children had been jumping off the couch and said she wasn’t sure if Emma had been injured then.
During the polygraph examination, Kincaid was asked four relevant questions. Kincaid answered that no she did not cause injury to Emma, no she did not cause the injury to Emma while she was in her home, no she did not know for sure how Emma was injured and no she did not know for sure how Emma received her injury. The results of the polygraph examination were “deception indicated.”
Kincaid later told the ISP officer that when Emma went limp, she panicked and dropped her because she couldn’t hold onto her. Kincaid was later reinterviewed and changed her story again to say that earlier in the day, she and the children were playing on the patio. She said that she was holding Emma when other kids bumped her leg, causing her to lose her balance and drop the child onto the concrete patio.
You can read the full affidavit of probable cause, here. Courtney Leann Kincaid — Affidavit
Read more about how Emma Grace saved lives through organ donation, here.