SIKESTON - A Sikeston woman arrested and charged for abusing a one-year-
old child is now facing charges for murder.
Ashley Nicole Clark, 23, was initially charged with first degree domestic assault, a class A felony, by Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd. The assault charge was amended Wednesday to first degree murder following the death of the Devionah Clark, 13 months.
At around 5:45 p.m. Monday, Sikeston Department of Public Safety officers responded to an E-911 call concerning a child who was not breathing at 201 Clayton Ave.
Upon arriving on the scene, the officer found the child was unresponsive and not breathing. CPR and resuscitation efforts by the officer and medical personnel from the South Scott Ambulance District, who arrived shortly after the officer, were successful at that time.
The child was then taken to Missouri Delta Medical Center and later transported by helicopter to Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
DPS was notified by Children's Hospital late Tuesday afternoon that the child had died. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday at the St. Louis Medical Examiner's Office to determine the exact cause of death, and results will be available in three weeks.
An affidavit from Children's Hospital stated doctors found the following injuries based on medical records and radiographic film: bleeding under the covering of the brain, swelling of the brain, bleeding inside the eyes, brain damage, inflicted traumatic brain injury consistent with acceleration/
deceleration, and child maltreatment.
The letter also said "this child has no known medical condition that would predispose her to major injury from minor trauma. The force required to produce these injuries exceeds the force required to provide routine care to a child in the course of normal daily activities, including play, and would be of sufficient magnitude that a reasonable adult would realize that it would likely cause injury or death to a child."
Once information was obtained from emergency room doctors at MDMC indicating the injuries were from apparent abuse, Clark was brought in to DPS headquarters for interviews during which officials obtained a confession.
Clark stated she had become stressed and reacted to the baby crying by causing the injuries to the child.
According to a probable cause statement, Clark said that on Monday she swung the baby up in the air by her arms three times. On the third time the baby reportedly did a complete flip and dropped to the floor from over four feet high.
Clark also said she grabbed the child by the right arm and swung the baby into a door facing which struck the entire left side of the baby's body. Over a period of two days, Clark threw the child several feet into a chair, she said, adding that she heard the baby's head hit the floor and make a "thump" sound.
As of this morning, Clark remained in custody at the Scott County Jail. The original $200,000 bond set was revoked when the assault charge was upgraded to murder and Boyd requested no bond be set until a hearing could be conducted.