17-month-old Kamryn Schlitter had new bruises over older bruises, a child abuse expert says
CEDAR RAPIDS - Toddler Kamryn Schlitter had multiple bruises, marks and scrapes all over her body. Many were new bruises on top of older bruises.
Dr. Resmiye Oral, director of the Child Protection Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, identified photos of bruising on Kamryn’s cheeks, forehead, underneath her chin, scrapes or fingermarks on her upper arms, scrapes on her shoulders and chest, inner thighs and her back.
Oral said Kamryn’s skin that connects the upper lip to the gum was torn and was consistent with something being forced in her mouth.
“It was the worse tear I’ve seen for some time,” Oral said.
Kamryn’s father Zyriah Schlitter is accused of killing the 17-month-old March 28, 2010. She died of severe head trauma which doctors said this week is from non-accidental injuries. Schlitter is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death.
The prosecution continues its case 9 a.m. Thursday in Linn County District Court. The trial started last week and will go into next week.
Schlitter’s ex-girlfriend Amy Parmer, 29, is also charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment in Kamryn’s death. Her trial is set Jan. 14.
Gazette Reporter Trish Mehaffey continues her live coverage from the courtroom.
Oral said Kamryn’s bruising and marks go from minutes to 24 hours old and some up to several days old when she was brought to the hospital March 21, 2010.
Kamryn’s head injuries resulted on two separate occasions, one head injury occurring one to two weeks prior to her hospital admission and the other could have occurred minutes to 6 hours before she was admitted, Oral said.
On cross examination, Tom Gaul, Schlitter’s attorney, pressed her on timing for the final trauma and she said she was more inclined to say it happened within minutes of the 911 call.
The timing of the injuries is important because the prosecution wants to show Schlitter, who wasn’t with Kamryn for two hours before 911 call was made, could have caused her head injuries and the defense wants to show that Parmer is responsible.
The first head injury may have made the second trauma more severe but the second one by itself was significant, Oral said. The second trauma had to be “acute and forceful” to explain the abrupt severe brain injuries.
Oral admitted on cross that it was possible that Kamryn could have recovered from the older head injury if not for the more recent injury.
Dr. Patricia Kirby, a pathologist with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, testified in detail about her examination of Kamryn’s brain and spine. She said Kamryn suffered a rotational injury, where the brain turns inside the skull.
Kirby said if enough force is applied to the head, the brain will move inside. She likened the force to when a boxer takes an upper cut to the jaw.
She showed photos of the multiple sub dural hemorrhages in Kamryn’s brain, which indicated the older injuries and more recent ones. She said timing is difficult but the older injuries could be weeks old and the recent ones were likely five to seven days old.
Kirby declined to give an opinion on how Kamryn’s injuries were inflicted. She said she would defer to other doctors.
Roberta Hinman, a child protective worker with the Department of Human Services who was assigned to investigate Kamryn’s case after she was taken to the hospital March 21, 2010 said Schlitter on March 26, asked to speak to her alone. He said he had done some research on head trauma and Kamryn displayed similar symptoms like sleepiness and pulling out her hair as described in the information he was reading.