STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — More than a month after the death of a Stanton-area toddler, her babysitter was formally charged with murder.
Kellie Barthel, 36, was arraigned Friday morning on charges of open murder, first-degree child abuse and felony murder in the death of Vayda Vasquez.
According to the sworn testimony outlining the case against Barthel, a man called 911 around 5:30 a.m. on March 2, reporting that a child was covered in blood and not breathing. At one point during the call, Barthel got on the line and said the child was fine, breathing and only had a bloody nose.
But when troopers arrived at Barthel’s home west of Stanton, she “told (the trooper) to do something and threw Vayda to the floor in front of (the trooper),” an investigator testified before the court.
Vayda was cold to the touch and she had already been dead for some time, authorities said.
“To (emergency responders), it appeared the child was used as a punching bag,” the testimony continued.
The cause of death was ultimately determined to be cranial cerebral trauma. Vayda had multiple skull fractures.
Troopers found blood all over the home, including bloody paper towels in the kitchen, a blood trail through the home leading into a bathroom, a bloody towel over a door near where Barthel and Vayda shared a bed, and on Barthel’s pants in the laundry.
Barthel had meth and THC in her system, Michigan State Police found. Her blood alcohol content level was still .1 four hours after troopers arrived at her home.
Surveillance video from the gas station across the street from Barthel’s home shows her buying alcohol around 8:45 p.m. March 1. At that time, Vayda was alive and healthy in the front seat of Barthel’s car.
Barthel said she couldn’t recall doing anything that would have hurt Vayda, investigators testified, but did admit to spanking her at one point and said the child hit her head on the ground, causing a bruise.
On Monday, Barthel told investigators she still couldn’t remember doing anything, but admitted she was the only one home with Vayda, investigators said. She also said she was upset with Vayda for having an accident on the floor, adding that Vayda had slipped in the urine and hit her forehead on the cupboard.
Barthel was arrested Wednesday, the day Vayda would have turned 2. If convicted, she’ll spend the rest of her life in prison.