Woman found not guilty in nephew’s death
SPOKANE, Wash. — A jury has found a Chattaroy woman not guilty of second degree murder in the 2015 death of her nephew, Gary Blanton III. The jury returned the not guilty verdict after getting the case late yesterday afternoon.
Cynthia Khaleel told authorities she found 5-year-old Blanton unresponsive on April 17, 2015. She told detectives that, earlier that morning, she heard a “bang” from the room below hers, which her nephew shared with his younger brother. She said she assumed he had fallen while trying to climb into that brother’s crib.
Court documents say Khaleel told detectives she checked on the boy, who told her his “ear hurt,” but she saw no apparent injury. She gave him some medicine, elevated his head and put him back to bed.
Several hours later, she was unable to rouse Blanton and called 911. He was airlifted to the hospital, where he died the next day.
Court documents say a hospital employee called police after noticing bruises on Blanton’s body that appeared to be in “various stages of healing.” Investigators also learned that Child Protective Services had received referrals about Blanton’s welfare. Teachers at his school told CPS the boy had come to class with a large burn on his forehead. Court documents also describe another instance in which Gary told one of his teachers “mom punched me in the head.”
Documents also state that an autopsy conducted on Blanton concluded that a blunt force head injury, and a traumatic brain injury, caused his death. The autopsy also showed a major abdominal injury that caused numerous tears to the boy’s organs.
Documents say the medical examiner considered the abdominal injury to “most likely” be unrelated to the head injuries.
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