Toddler had Severe Head Trauma Within 6 Hours of 911 Call
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A child abuse expert said 17-month-old Kamryn Schlitter suffered a “major traumatic” injury within six hours of when Amy Parmer made the 911 call March 21, 2010.
Dr. Resmiye Oral, the director of the University of Iowa Children's Hospital's Child Protection Program, said her opinion is based on research and the scientific consensus that head traumas of this kind result in symptoms quickly and within six hours is a “cautious” time frame. Kamryn suffered a rotational acceleration-deceleration injury, which resulted in an acute sub dural hematoma, damage to the gray matter of the brain, severe brain swelling and numerous retinal hemorrhages.
Oral, also a pediatrics professor, said there was also evidence of an earlier injury which could have occurred a week prior to her hospital admission. Her brain was damaged but she was walking around, playing and still eating some. She only had a mildly to moderately injured brain at that point but it could have contributed to the final injury.
Parmer, 29, of Hiawatha, is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. She is accused of inflicting the physical abuse of Kamryn, along with her ex-boyfriend Zyriah Schlitter, Kamryn’s father. Kamryn died from blunt force head injuries March 28, 2010.
Schlitter, 25, of Cedar Rapids, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment resulting in death last December and is serving 50 years in prison.
The prosecution will wrap up its case this week and the defense may start Thursday. Other medical experts also testified last week to similar findings in regards to two different brain injuries.
Follow Gazette Reporter Trish Mehaffey’s continuing live coverage from the courtroom 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Oral said Kamryn also had bruising from two distinct time periods. She admitted dating bruises wasn’t an accurate science but there are characteristics, such as colors, that can help determine if a bruise is newer or older.
Bruises that are red or purple in color are newer and green or yellow ones are older, Oral said.
“Even older ones will have a brown color that starts emerging,” Oral said. “I could see two distinct time periods for the bruising. When taken all together, it’s too much bruising from two time frames. I would be very concerned about inflicted trauma.”
Oral pointed out photos she had taken of Kamryn’s bruising on the left cheek, chin area and a red mark on her right cheek with a blue bruise underneath it. The fresher bruising on her face could have been within 24 hour time frame.
She had a purplish-brown mark on her left shoulder, abrasions or scratches in front of her left ear and a tear of the frenum, which is the skin between the upper lip and gum, Oral told the jury. That tear is consistent with inflicted trauma.
Kamryn also had multiple bruising on her left upper arm, which were in different stages of healing, Oral said. On her right arm, she had grab marks or finger marks. There were also abrasion marks on the upper right portion of her chest.
She also had a red-purplish bruise on her inner thigh and bruising to the right of the spine that was older, Oral said.
Oral said everything was ruled out except non-accidental trauma as the cause of death. Neglect also was a potential cause of death. Kamryn was still sick after being treated in those last few weeks for pink eye and an ear infection, and her caregivers “must have been aware of what happened to the child and chose not to seek care.”
Earlier in the day, the jury heard audio recordings and watched a video of Zyriah Schlitter’s police interviews.
In those, Schlitter couldn’t give an explanation for Kamryn’s bruising and severe head injuries. He said he didn’t abuse Kamryn and said he wasn’t aware of abuse from Parmer.
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