A Jennings County man faces a charge of murder after an incident last week that led to the death of an 18-month-old child in his care, police reported.
Ryan James Shelley, 27, North Vernon, was arrested Friday in connection with the incident reported in the 1400 block of Almond Avenue, according to a news release from the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.
Maj. Jerry Shepherd with the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department said he received word from the hospital that the child, Kayleecia Lipscom of Columbus, died at 6:15 a.m. Monday. Lipscom was the daughter of Tanika Lipscom, 24, of Columbus.
Shepherd said an autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Shelley initially was charged with aggravated battery with serious injury, which is being upgraded to murder and neglect causing death.
The incident that led to Shelley’s arrest began when police and emergency personnel were sent to the home after dispatch received a call Thursday that a baby had fallen off a kitchen counter and was unconscious.
Police reported that responding officers began CPR on the child, and she was immediately airlifted to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky.
Investigators interviewed both Shelley and Tanika Lipscom at the scene, police said. Shelley is Lipscom’s boyfriend, and she and the child would visit Shelley in North Vernon, Shepherd said.
Shelley initially told police he was alone with the child and her older brother when the girl fell off the counter, hitting the kitchen floor. Tanika Lipscom returned to Shelley’s residence from across the street, and the 911 call was made.
Shepherd, Lt. Brian Talkington and Detective Sgt. James Blevins went to the hospital, where they spoke with doctors who told them the injuries were not consistent with the information they had been given at the scene.
Police said doctors reported that the injuries the child sustained were consistent with having been shaken forcefully and not an injury from falling off a counter.
On Friday morning, officers went to Shelley’s home at 1481 Almond Ave. Police said Shelley was found hiding in a rear bedroom closet of his home. He was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Jennings County Jail.
During an interview, police said Shelley admitted the child did not fall off the counter but that he had grabbed the child and had forcibly shaken her because she would not stop crying. This admission by Shelley was consistent with what doctors had told investigators previously about the child’s injuries, police said.
Shelley’s initial hearing in Jennings Circuit Court has yet to be set, and he was being held Monday morning without bond at the jail in Vernon. Shelley also is listed on the state’s sex offender registry, Shepherd said.
Indiana State Police Detective Rachel Hunt assisted during the investigation.