By EMINE SINMAZ
PUBLISHED: 11:12 EST, 3 July 2012 | UPDATED: 11:45 EST, 3 July 2012
A babysitter has been indicted on a murder charge in the death of a one-year-old boy found wrapped in a garbage bag in the closet of a southwest Ohio apartment.
Marquita Burch was babysitting William Cunningham of Cincinnati on May 22 when he died from a brain injury the next day, according to County Prosecutor Joseph Deters.
Deters said the 26-year-old did not seek medical treatment for the toddler when she injured him, dumped his body in a garbage bag, hid the boy in her cousin’s home and reported him missing.
Injured: Marquita Burch (right) was babysitting William Cunningham (left) of Cincinnati on May 22, when he died from a brain injury the next day, according to County Prosecutor Joseph Deters
‘This child did not have to die,’ Deters said in a news release, according to KyPost.com. ‘It is bad enough that Burch injured the child, but horrible to think of the child’s suffering. It’s clear the child might have survived if the defendant had sought prompt medical treatment.’
Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco ruled the case a homicide and said Cunningham sustained trauma to his head and had blood inside his skull, according to the newspaper.
A Hamilton County grand jury in Cincinnati on Monday indicted Burch, of Covington, Kentucky, on single counts of murder and involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children. Burch also is charged with tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Burch’s attorney did not immediately return calls for comment.
Burch initially reported the toddler missing, but was taken in for questioning after police found discrepancies in her story.
The woman later recanted her story, telling Covington detectives that Cunningham had fallen down the stairs in her apartment on Sheehan Avenue in Cincinnati, according to Fox19. She said she had given him ibuprofen and had found his lifeless body the next morning.
Discrepancies: Marquita Burch who is accused of killing the one-year-old pictured during a court appearance
Statement: Burch told police she was babysitting Cunningham and left him playing outside in the City Heights neighborhood while she went into her apartment to retrieve some clothing
Charged: Prosecutors said the 26-year-old did not seek medical treatment for the toddler when she injured him
The suspect then directed Covington detectives to an apartment on Winton Road where she said she had taken the boy’s body. The toddler’s corpse was discovered in a hall closet within the unit.
Cunningham was reported missing on May 25. Detectives interviewed the boy’s mother, Kiara Carter, and Burch, who told Local 12 News she was babysitting him and left him to play outside in the City Heights neighborhood while she went into her apartment to retrieve some clothing.
When she came back, the boy was gone. A massive search followed involving some 100 officers, firefighters and other emergency responders, as well as K-9 units that spent five hours scouring the surrounding area, theEnquirer has reported.
Lieutenant Colonel Spike Jones, of the Covington Police Department, said police eventually determined the child was not in the area when the dogs failed to pick up a scent. He said he believes the boy was never in Covington, and Burch made the story up to throw off police.
Carter said Burch was babysitting William, and she asked her several times to return the boy home, but the 26-year-old refused.
Discussions with family members led Covington police to believe the child was in Cincinnati, and the investigation was turned over to Cincinnati police.