14 area children slain since 2000
After Summer Phelps died Sunday, authorities said the 4-year-old was one of 14 children whose death was linked to a caregiver in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas since 2000. Here’s a look at the others:
Mason Peterson, age 1
Baby sitter Maria L. Fleming put Mason down for a nap in March 2000 using an unstable car seat and didn’t check on him for more than three hours. When Fleming went to check, the car seat was turned upside down on the floor. Mason had suffocated. Fleming pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. She was sentenced to less than two years in prison.
Serenity Rudd, age 2
The baby sitter’s boyfriend lashed out at the girl when he was left alone with her. Serenity arrived at an emergency room with bruises, cigarette burns, a broken collarbone, a torn carotid artery and cerebral edema. She died from her injuries on May 22. Kenneth C. Brian, then 19, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Alexander Wallace, age 4
Alexander had bruises all over his body, cuts on his lip and genitals and a lacerated liver. There also was evidence of blows to both sides of his head. Alexander died from his injuries on May 29. Shirley L. Anderson, the boy’s aunt, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 26 years. Anderson’s companion, Luani Lehman, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to less than two years in prison.
Angela Biotti, age 1 month
The baby girl’s father was in the habit of kicking and shaking the infant’s bassinette and dropping her into it from a height of 2 feet when he was angry that she was crying. Casey A. Biotti also pressed on the baby’s chest and bear-hugged her when he was frustrated. On the morning she died, her father slammed her head against a windowsill and put her back in her crib. Biotti pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to almost 13 years.
Dallon Yoshio Furtwangler, age 4 months
Kelly Nakaji smothered her son with a pillow at a Coeur d’Alene’s woman shelter in August after overdosing on an anti-anxiety drug. Then she slit her wrists. Nakaji was alternately described in court as a woman who killed her baby to keep him from his father, or as depressed and fleeing an abusive relationship. Nakaji pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. She was released on probation nearly six months later after completing a “rider program” that included rehabilitation and counseling.
Elizabeth Goodwin, age 6
Foster child Elizabeth “Lizzy” Goodwin drowned in the bathtub at the Coeur d’Alene home of her guardians, Denise and James Whittle. Denise Whittle said she had left the girl, who had autism, alone in the tub for a few minutes. Originally charged with manslaughter, Denise Whittle reached a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a felony charge of injury to a child. She was released on probation six months into her sentence, but violated the terms of her probation by committing grand theft. Whittle was ordered by 1st District Judge John Mitchell to serve the remainder of her sentence and an additional 70 years on the grand theft charges. James Whittle is serving a 10-year sentence for breaking the girl’s leg during toilet training.
Gage Roberts, age 2
Gage was hit on the top of his head as though someone was driving a nail with a hammer. The blow knocked the toddler to the floor and destroyed one side of his brain. He lost consciousness about a half-hour later and was taken to Deaconess Medical Center where he died two days later. Michael R. Emerson, Gage’s mother’s fiancé, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder.
William Jones, hours old
Baby William and his twin brother were abandoned by their mother in a box found in a Shiloh Hills driveway. William died of asphyxiation. The other child survived. Stacey L. Jones, then 38, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, after pleading guilty to two counts second-degree abandonment of a dependent person (child abuse), and second-degree manslaughter.
Victoria Ramon, age 2
Robert L. Doney beat his girlfriend’s daughter, Victoria, to death in December to get revenge on her mother, Joan Richards. Doney was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Cadyn Adams, age 3 months
Spokane Valley resident James V. Adams head-butted his baby boy in the back of the head twice, and Cadyn died a day later at Deaconess Medical Center. James V. Adams was convicted of homicide by abuse and sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Brandon McAdoo, age 15 months
Barry L. McAdoo was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole in 2020, for the January murder of his son. McAdoo fled after the crime and later told police that he had taken 50 sleeping pills and rat poison in a suicide attempt. He contracted frostbite and both of his legs were amputated below the knee. Doctors said Brandon McAdoo died from shaken baby syndrome.
Devon L. Miller, age 1
Devon died from a head injury police say was caused by a “fantastic blow.” Avery Sam, 37, is charged with second-degree murder in the child’s death, but the case hasn’t gone to trial. The child was placed with Angelique Sam, the child’s great aunt, and Avery Sam by the Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Yakama Nations shortly before his death.
Kylla Pahl, age 13 months
Born with methamphetamine in her system, Kylla died 13 months later in a July 2006 fire at her family’s Coeur d’Alene rental home. The infant was alone inside the home when an unattended candle started the fire. Her mother, Megan Longoria Pahl, told police she left the girl alone to discuss the sale of a van with a male friend. Neighbors reported seeing Longoria and the man – he buttoning his shirt and she zipping her pants – emerge from the van outside the home as smoke poured from the eaves. The home was littered with rotting garbage, dog feces and dirty diapers. Megan Pahl was not charged in her daughter’s death. Police recommended a charge of involuntary manslaughter, but prosecutors said there was “insufficient evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.”