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October 11, 2013

Mother charged in infant’s death

Autopsy reportedly showed 2-week-old girl suffered head trauma

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

Stalling

A 25-year-old mother was charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse Oct. 11, a week after she was taken into custody on drug and traffic charges while prosecutors investigated the death of her infant daughter.

Charliette Agnes Stalling, of Warren, was arraigned before 37th District Court Judge Matthew Sabaugh, who ordered her held without bond. Warren police said Stalling pleaded not guilty and requested a court-appointed attorney at her arraignment.

Stalling was reportedly arrested outside of her home on Orchard east of Van Dyke and south of Toepfer in the afternoon on Oct. 4.

Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso of the Warren Police Department said officers went to the home after Detroit police informed Warren detectives that the baby died at St. John Hospital on Moross that morning. The baby was initially transported to the St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital at 12 Mile Road and Hoover after Warren Fire Department paramedics responded to a 911 call about a baby vomiting at the home at 1 p.m. Oct. 3.

“When the Fire Department arrived they discovered the child to be in severe distress, not breathing and without a pulse,” Galasso said. “CPR was given, along with other lifesaving techniques, while the infant was transported to St. John Macomb at 12 Mile.”

Galasso said paramedics were successfully able to revive the baby and that hospital staff in Warren cared for the child for about two hours before the decision was made to transfer her to the Detroit facility for further treatment. That’s where the child reportedly died at about 7 a.m. Oct. 4 and from where Stalling allegedly fled before Detroit police arrived to speak with her.

Galasso said it took about five hours for Detroit police to contact investigators in Warren but that patrol officers successfully located Stalling after they responded to the address on Orchard and saw her drive by the home. She was reportedly stopped, identified and found to be in the possession of a small amount of marijuana. She also reportedly had two outstanding traffic warrants and was taken into custody.

Detectives interviewed Stalling at Warren’s Christopher M. Wouters Police Headquarters on Oct. 4 and again on Oct. 5. During both interviews, she allegedly said she had no knowledge about what caused the baby’s injuries.

Galasso said Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz performed an autopsy Oct. 6 and concluded that the child suffered blunt force head trauma.

“Detectives engaged in an interview with the mother, who denied doing any harm to the child and could not provide any reason why the infant would have sustained the skull trauma,” Galasso said. “She offered no reason such as the child had fallen or was dropped or anything to that nature, and she denied that anybody else had custody of the child, and said that the infant was in her care throughout the entire day.

“Based on her statement that she was the only person that had custody of the child and cared for the child, and based on her own statements that the child never had fallen, knowing that the MRI and X-rays showed skull fractures, we thought we had probable cause to book her for the child’s death,” Galasso said.

Stalling was later arraigned on the drug and traffic charges and remained held in the Macomb County jail while police and prosecutors worked on the case. Her two other children, ages 4 and 7, have been placed in the care of their maternal grandmother.

Stalling was next scheduled to appear for a hearing in the 37th District Court at 8:45 a.m. Oct. 24.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.