Woman who petitioned for custody of child devastated by her death, allegedly by her mother
SPOKANE, Wash. — Krista Baker welcomed Skarlette Stedeford into the world six months ago. Today, she mourns her death — a tragedy she said could’ve been avoided.
“I’m sad, I’m angry, I am shocked at the whole thing,” Baker said.
Baker said before Skarlette was born, she took in the baby’s mother, Skye Metcalf, 27, and her father, Anthony Stedeford. Baker lived across from Stedeford’s mother and heard the couple was living in a hotel. Baker told KXLY she was in the delivery room with Metcalf when she gave birth to Skarlette.
“I started taking care of her at three days old. Both parents decided they were too tired,” Baker said.
“Well, being a parent, you can’t be tired. You don’t get to pick and choose when you want to take care of a child.”
Court documents show Child Protective Services took Skarlette in March while Metcalf was being treated for bipolar disorder and postpartum depression. Baker petitioned for custody of Stedeford in March, which was a move she said Metcalf originally supported. Baker told KXLY Metcalf and Stedeford changed their minds weeks later.
“I filed it and then she and Anthony turned back around and said, ‘no you need to withdraw’ and I said ‘you know what, I’m not gonna do that because this child needs to have a chance,'” Baker said.
A judge dismissed the petition May 3, according to court documents.
“She pretty much deemed the parents unfit but because I wasn’t legally her grandmother she was dismissing the case,” Baker said.
Just a month and a half after the dismissal, Skarlette’s life ended in a Spokane Valley hospital. Her own mother is accused of killing her. Court documents show Metcalf admitted to authorities she forced Skarlette into her bassinet face-first and punched her in the head twice after an argument with Skarlette’s father.
“If the judge would’ve listened to me, she would still be here,” Baker said. “I poured my heart into it. I don’t know what else I could have done,” Baker said. “My heart goes with [Skarlette] wherever she is.”
KXLY confirmed with the Department of Social and Health Services there was an open case on Skarlette at the time of her death.
Metcalf faces second degree murder charges. Her bond is set at $1 million.
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