A Colorado mother entrusted her 2-year-old son to the care of a babysitter with whom she was on friendly terms in early September. A few hours later, Stefanie Reichert learned via text message that her baby boy, Giovanni, “had gone lifeless after a bath.” When the mother arrived at the hospital, she couldn’t believe the extent of Giovanni’s injuries.
The babysitter, McKinley Slone Hernandez, 25, was arrested Friday on a charge of felony child abuse.
While Hernandez has reportedly admitted to being impaired on the night in question, she has not yet accounted for why the toddler’s entire body was covered with bruises, why his brain was bleeding, and why his eyes were swollen shut.
“She won’t admit to anything,” Reichert
told KDVR-TV. “All she’s said is she was drinking, and he got hurt in her care.”
Reichert said that Hernandez was a friend of hers who had on previous occasions watched her son as well as other children at an unlicensed child care facility at her home.
The mother figured Sept. 1 would similarly go smoothly. However, just hours into the evening, she “received a text message from the suspect saying I needed to rush to St. Anthony’s Hospital because my son had gone lifeless after a bath.”
Giovanni had been airlifted to the hospital to undergo a series of life-saving surgeries.
“Once I saw him and all the 50 doctors standing around him, I had to leave the room because it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Reichert.
told KUSA-TV that doctors had to remove a part of her son’s skull due to bleeding on the brain. Mortifying photographs of the boy’s injuries show a sickle-shaped scar across the child’s shaved head.
According to a GoFundMe page created to help with the boy’s medical expenses, Giovanni was intubated and sedated early on so that his brain could recover.
After several operations and weeks at spent at the hospital, Reichert indicated on Sept. 20, “Giovanni has been beating all odds! … The power of prayer is a real thing and we are just so blessed to be this far and so soon!”
This week, Reichert noted that a Thanksgiving procedure fusing Giovanni’s skull back together had been successful. While the boy can be seen in recent pictures wide-eyed and alert, he still requires additional surgeries and faces a difficult uphill battle toward recovery.
While the nature of Giovanni’s injuries is unmistakable, it’s not clear precisely how the damage was inflicted or why.
“I make up scenarios in my head all the time for the injuries he sustained, so I wish I knew,” Reichert told KDVR.
The Thanksgiving arrest of Hernandez brought the family some solace, but Reichert doesn’t think the felony child abuse charge goes far enough to address the harm caused.
“I feel so relieved, but I also feel like she should be charged with more. I feel like it’s attempted murder, she almost killed my child,” said the mother.
Hernandez is being held on a $100,000 cash bond. She was still in custody as of Monday and is due in Jefferson County Court on Dec. 20.
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