Friday, July 23, 2004

Boy, 5, suspect in death of baby

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON - The city's most recent homicide victim is a baby girl - and police say the suspect is a 5-year-old boy.

In a case that presents challenging legal circumstances, the Hamilton County Coroner's Office Thursday conducted an autopsy and ruled that 6-week-old Cardasia Goens died from her head being banged, causing skull fractures and brain injury.

Police were called to her Walnut Drive apartment just before midnight Tuesday after neighbors reported the baby had been dropped on her head. She was pronounced dead Wednesday at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott Jr. said the infant suffered a crushing injury to her skull.

"It's certainly not a natural death,'' he said. "It's definitely not consistent with a fall.''

Officials said it was unclear Thursday whether the suspect, a 5-year-old boy who is not related to the victim, could be held legally responsible.

Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper said his staff was researching how the case should be handled.

"You don't arrest a 5-year-old. Even if you wanted to put a 5-year-old into the juvenile detention center, you could not do it," Piper said.

At the Riverside Homes apartment complex where the baby died, neighbors said the mother of the child was staying elsewhere.

Jane Prendergast and Maggie Downs contributed. E-mail

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