Prosecutors in the January death of an 8-year-old girl from Normal point to a consistent pattern of abuse under the eye of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services.
Cynthia Marie Baker, also known as Cynthia Clay, was arrested on a warrant earlier this week for charges of murder, aggravated domestic battery, and domestic battery of a child in connection with the girl’s death.
Court records detail an added 10 misdemeanor counts of abuse against the child starting in May of last year.
DFCS was notified of the case in December when the girl showed up to school with two black eyes. Baker blamed the bruises on the child being “clumsy,” then switched schools.
DCFS has not immediately returned requests for comment from WGLT regarding its involvement with the case prior to December.
Baker was later charged with endangering the life of a child for failing to take the girl to get X-rays of the black eyes after medical advisement.
In Baker’s list of charges, that is one of 10 misdemeanors related to treatment of the 8-year-old since last May leading up to her death on Jan. 25.
According to police reports the girl died from repeated kicking to the abdomen causing massive internal injury and peritonitis.
The girl was the daughter of Baker’s boyfriend. The three lived together with Baker’s biological daughter in Normal.
Court records show the abuse started in May of last year when Baker slapped the child on two occasions.
Throughout the month of August, Baker hit, spanked, and dragged the child. Prosecutors laid out a narrative obtained via three videos on Baker’s phone, one in which the defendant drags the child by her neck into a bedroom to be punished.
Additional video footage from that month shows the child stripped naked, wet and shivering, forced to hold cans. When the girl’s arms slack, Baker slaps the child on both sides of the face and yells, “Do I need to put a collar on you?” before Baker wraps her hands around the child’s neck.
Prosecutors detailed the abuse continued a month later when video shows Baker kneeing the 8-year-old in the back multiple times before slamming the girl’s head into a wall.
The defendant is also charged with one additional count of endangering the life of a child by failing to provide a winter coat in October of last year.
Baker is being held in McLean County Jail on $1 million bond. She is due in court May 3.
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