ER Doctor Testifies Toddler's Severe Injuries Result of Ongoing Abuse

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

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By Liz Blood

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Toddler Kamryn Schlitter was “critically ill....she was dying” when she was rushed to the emergency room at St. Luke’s Hospital March 22, 2010, Dr. Julie Beard testified Friday.

Beard said 17-month-old Kamryn couldn’t breathe on her own, she was pale and she was seizing. She had retinal hemorrhaging and lower extremity posturing – fixed tension of muscles, which both indicate a serious head injury. She had bruising to her forehead, and chin area and the bruises were in different stages of healing which indicated they were inflicted at different time.

“My opinion is she sustained non-accidental trauma and ongoing abuse,” Beard told the jury in the Zyriah Schlitter murder trial.

Schlitter, charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death, is accused of killing Kamryn, who died March 28, 2010, who died of severe head injury.

Amy Jo Parmer, 29, of Hiawatha, Schlitter's former girlfriend, is also charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Her trial is set Jan. 14, 2013.

The prosecution continues its case 9 a.m. Monday in Linn County District Court. The trial started this week and is expected to last two more weeks.

Beard said Schlitter reacted oddly when she told him Kamryn was “gravely ill and dying.” He had no reaction.

“He didn’t cry and he didn’t ask questions,” Beard said.

Nicole King, Kamryn’s mother was crying, “very tearful,” when Beard talked to her.

Both parents went into see Kamryn before they transported her to the University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Nicole Morgan, St. Luke’s emergency room nurse, testified. King was crying and touched Kamryn’s head, asking her to get Kamryn to Iowa City as soon as possible. Schlitter only asked if she was conscious and then said “I’m sorry,” which was directed to Kamryn, Morgan said.

Tom Gaul, Schlitter’s attorney, asked Morgan on cross examination if people sometimes “shut down” and react differently in situations like this.

Morgan said she agreed.

Beard said nobody could give her an explanation of what happened to Kamryn that night. Schlitter said he was at church. Amy Parmer said she was taking care of her and she was more tired that night. Parmer gave her a bath and then she started having a seizure.

Schlitter and Parmer also told Beard Kamryn was “klutzy” and she bruised easily.

In earlier testimony, former employees of Apple Kids Daycare in Cedar Rapids testified to documenting the bruising and reporting it to the Department of Human Services.

Andrea McLere, former daycare worker, said she noticed bruising on Kamryn March 8, 2010 and she took photos. There was a bruise on her forehead and underneath her eye, a mark on her chin and a cut on her lip. She wiped off Kamryn’s face after a morning snack and there appeared to be make-up on the tissue.

Parmer, who also had a child at Apple Kids, came in that day and asked how “that little brat (Kamryn) over there” was doing, McLere said. She didn't understand that because McLere thought Kamryn was a sweet child. She asked Parmer about Kamryn’s bruises and Parmer said Kamryn tripped and fell and then also something fell on her head when she was playing in the closet.

McLere said there was more bruising on Kamryn March 15. There were bruises on top of older bruises.

Keri Sotelo, former daycare worker, said Schlitter said Kamryn liked to “beat herself up” in regards to the bruises March 15. She said they reported it to their supervisor, which is protocol.

Ciara McMurrin, former director of Apple Kids, said the two employees told her about the bruises on March 8 and also told her about Parmer’s explanation for them. She thought it seemed reasonable but wouldn’t have if they would have also told her about the make-up. The daycare did report the injuries to DHS after March 15.

Gaul on cross asked if they talked to Schlitter about the bruises and make-up when they first saw them.

Both said they didn't.

Gaul also questioned them about why they didn't report the bruises sooner to DHS.

Both said they followed protocol and reported it their supervisor.

Colton Parmer, 8, Amy Parmer’s son, was called to testify about who hurt Kamryn March 22, 2010 but he said he couldn’t remember.

Colton said he remembered living with a “baby" but "she didn’t play much." He remembered the ambulance coming to get her and she had bruises on her head and other places.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks asked him if anyone hit the baby with a Spider-Man umbrella.

Colton said he didn’t remember.

Maybanks asked if he remembered seeing the interview on Thursday of him with investigators when he told them about the incident.

Colton said he remembered watching it but nothing about what happened to the baby.
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