Four years after a Twentynine Palms woman was arrested on suspicion of causing her baby’s death through child abuse, she finally had a preliminary hearing Thursday to determine if there was enough evidence to hold her over for trial. Managing editor Tami Roleff was in the courtroom, and files this report…
Kaylee Ledford’s 3-month-old baby was unresponsive when it was taken to the Naval Hospital on board the Combat Center September 1, 2015, and suffered two cardiac events when he was flown to Loma Linda Medical Center.
Ledford told investigators that she had fallen asleep on her right side on the couch with the baby between her and the couch. She said when she woke up, she noticed her left shoulder was wet; she checked on her baby and found him wedged in the back cushion of the couch. She said she was afraid she had lain on him while she was napping and accidentally smothered it. She called 911 and began CPR on her child; paramedics took over CPR when they arrived.
Doctors at Loma Linda said the baby arrived at their hospital brain dead, with retinal bleeding, and abdominal hemorrhaging—symptoms that are not consistent with an adult lying on top of a baby on a couch.
And according to investigators, two nurses said they were called to the baby’s room multiple times by beeping from the ventilator machine, because the baby’s ventilator tube had become disconnected from the machine. The nurses said that it takes a great amount of effort to disconnect a ventilator tube, and each time, Ledford was in the room alone with her child; at least one of those times, her hands were under the baby’s blanket and near the ventilator tube.
Investigators also mentioned that Ledford had another son who died at about 3 months of age three years earlier.
Ledford was arrested almost a year after her son’s death, on July 28, 2016, and charged with murder and child abuse, causing great bodily injury or death, and has been in jail ever since with her bail set at $1 million bail.
Judge Rodney Cortez ruled Thursday that there was enough evidence to hold Kaylee Ledford for trial in the murder and assault on her baby causing death; her next court date is October 9.