WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) — Court records reveal disturbing allegations about what happened to a Newaygo 14-month-old before she died.
Laylah Heether died Tuesday from injuries investigators say were the result of child abuse. Laylah’s stepfather, 29-year-old Wayne Brown, is the main suspect in the investigation, though he has not been charged in connection with the baby’s injuries or death.
Laylah was taken to the hospital on Feb. 14 after becoming unresponsive while home with Brown, according to a petition to Newaygo County Circuit Court related to the case.
“The allegations stated that Wayne was home alone with Laylah… Wayne reported Laylah fell off the couch at the home,” the petition stated.
Doctors didn’t believe that claim and the hospital contacted law enforcement.
The petition states that doctors found Laylah had old and new fractures to bones, bleeding on her brain and bruising.
A doctor at Grand Rapids’ Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where Laylah was treated, reportedly concluded that “trauma is the only thing that could have caused these injuries.” The doctor said the injuries were “outside the range of expected minor injuries resulting from normal everyday activity,” according to the petition.
The report also documented injuries to Laylah’s genitals that a YWCA sexual abuse nurse concluded were from “probable sexual abuse.”
Brown was arrested shortly after the baby’s hospitalization on a domestic violence charge. He’s accused of assaulting Laylah’s mother. He was released from jail after someone posted $1,000 for his bond on that charge.
The petition also commented on Brown’s apparent state of mind following Laylah’s hospitalization. A deputy reportedly said that Brown “showed a lack of emotion for the seriousness of the event that had occurred while the child was in his care.”
Court records also reveal a history of documented claims of abuse and drug use against Brown. Children’s Protective Services had filed petitions in the past expressing concerns about his contact with his own children.
A woman who identified herself as Brown’s mother told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday that what’s being reported about her son isn’t right. She said she would pass along a message seeking comment to her son. 24 Hour News 8 had not heard back as of Wednesday evening.
It’s not clear when or if charges will be filed following Laylah’s death. Tuesday, Michigan State Police were seen collecting evidence from the home where Laylah was reportedly injured.
GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses