SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A 23-year-old woman was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder for the death of her 2-month-old son, Kaiden Light. Court documents say after telling police one story, Tatianna Light admitted to suffocating the infant by holding pillows over him.
Officers responded to the home after a 911 call about a child not breathing. Court documents say Light initially told them that she had put the baby on his back on her bed and went to do laundry. She said that when she returned about ten minutes later, the baby had rolled on his stomach and had blood in his nose, and she called 911.
When emergency medical personnel arrived, according to a detective's probable cause statement used as the basis of the charge, they started resuscitation measures on the child. Kaiden was transported to a hospital but doctors couldn't save him.
Light was questioned by officers again. Officers say she told them she had tried to perform CPR on the baby for about 30-45 minutes, then called a family member to seek advice, and then called 911.
Officers took Light from the hospital to police headquarters for additional questioning. Court documents say, when confronted about discrepancies in her story, she admitted using pillows to suffocate the baby. Officers say Light said she held pillows over the baby for about an hour. Court documents say during that time, Light told police she stopped, saw the boy was still alive, and then continued until he was no longer breathing.
Kaiden had only been back in his mother's care for less than 24 hours when he was killed. Tatianna's mother says Children's Services removed Kaiden from his home after an abuse call was made last week. After an investigation, she says, Children's Services returned the boy to Tatianna.
This is devastating news for so many, especially on the heels of three other young kids who have died in the last week.
"I watched the news this morning, too, and saw them all reported and part of me thought it wasn't a bad thing that the public know how frequent it is that babies are killed or intentionally harmed," said Greene County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jill Patterson.
Patternson says a child's death takes a toll on her.
"I can usually tell you where I was when I got the phone call," sahe said.
The latest call came on Kaiden Light. Police say Tatianna Light admitted she smothered him with a pillow on Tuesday afternoon at her house on North Travis Avenue.
"There was nobody else at home. There is a father. He was at work and we are not looking at any other suspects," said Springfield Police Lt. David Millsap.
For Light's neighbors, the news is devastating.
"You hear of things like this happening all the time and it's horrific, but knowing a baby and having held a baby who has died like this makes it far worse," said Jessica Robbins.
Robbins recently babysat Kaiden at her home. Also, having her own baby so close in age makes it even tougher to handle.
"I just cried thinking, 'Here I have a baby,' and how young she is and all the things she's going to get to do in her life that he will never have the chance to do," said Robbins.
Besides Kaiden, three other children in the Ozarks also died this week under suspicious circumstances. Shady Hicks, 2, of West Plains was scalded by hot water in a bath tub. Willow Springs police are waiting for toxicology results in the investigation of the death of 6-year old Zeke Breeds. In Mountain Grove, the coroner says a 9-month-old child died in an accidental drowning at home in the bathtub.
"It is fair to wonder why people with a history end up with two, three, four, or five chances and it is fair to be angry about it," said Patterson.
A representative of Children's Services couldn't talk about Kaiden's case. KY3 News has made a request for the records of his case under the state's Sunshine Law.
Bond for Light is set at $250,000. If she's convicted of second-degree murder, she could face a prison sentence up to 30 years.
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