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Trial of woman accused of killing 8-year-old stepdaughter to start in McLean County

MCLEAN COUNTY (WEEK) — Jury selection for the murder trial of a 41-year-old woman accused of killing her stepdaughter begins Tuesday in McLean County.

Prosecutors claim Cynthia Baker kicked her 8-year-old stepdaughter Rica Rountree so hard in the stomach that the child died as a result of her injuries.

 

DCFS has acknowledged their involvement with the 8-year-old which began in 2014. The agency conducted a total of 12 child abuse or neglect investigations involving Rountree, 8 were declared unfounded.

Baker is facing three counts of murder and 10 misdemeanor charges related to the abuse prosecutors assert lead up to the little girl’s death. Baker is pleading not guilty.

Prosecutors: Pattern of abuse led up to Normal 8-year-old’s murder

DCFS has acknowledged their involvement with the 8-year-old which began in 2014. The agency conducted a total of 12 child abuse or neglect investigations involving Rountree, 8 were declared unfounded.

Last month Baker’s lead defense attorney Brendan Bukalski explained the trial was delayed because of new evidence he says shows Rountree got into a car accident before her death that could explain her death.

“One of their witnesses, a doctor, offered up that he sees this type of injury either with a blow you know a blunt force trauma blow or such as a deceleration like with a seat belt,” Bukalski said.

Bukalski said family members informed him that an incident involving a seatbelt injury occurred before the child died during a family trip to Chicago.

Though prosecutors claim videos obtained from Baker’s iCloud through a search warrant show her dragging, slapping and yelling at the 8-year-old.

 

 

Stephanie Rodriguez

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