Babysitter pleads to murder in 2020 death of Stanton-area toddler

Montcalm County
kellie barthel

Kellie Barthel is arraigned on a charge of murder in the death of Vayda Vasquez. (April 10, 2020)

STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman entered a plea in the March 2020 death of a Stanton-area toddler.

On Friday, Kellie Barthel pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the death of Vayda Vasquez. The other charges against her were dismissed.

A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated the same as any other conviction at sentencing.

A date for her sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

An undated courtesy photo 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.

Barthel was arrested on April 8, 2020, the day Vayda would have turned 2. 

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