COLUMBIA- Columbia Police officers arrested a Fayette woman after responding to a Columbia residence for a report of a death on Sunday.
Jennifer Johnson, 44, was arrested and charged with second degree murder, child abuse and first degree child endangerment.
According to court documents, officers were dispatched to Women's and Children's Hospital Sunday around 11:16 a.m. Officers were then notified that the baby girl had died at approximately 8:45 a.m.
The officer observed photos that were taken after the child was declared deceased. The officer said the 8 month old appeared to have multiple bruises on her head, face and abdomen. It also looked like there were lacerations on her chin and nose, according to the documents.
According to the baby's mother, the child was left in the care and custody of Johnson, her babysitter, on Saturday evening, at the child's house, located in the 1000 block of Elleta Boulevard. The baby's siblings were also left in Johnson's care, who are 13, 3 and 2 years old.
The mother and father returned to the residence between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The mother said the door was locked when she got there.
The mother then said that her baby was "unresponsive and cool to the touch." The mother and father immediately took the baby to the hospital.
"That kind of put two and two together why she was, you know, leaving so fast. That's when we were told that she was rushing her baby to the hospital because her baby wasn't okay," said neighbor Demitrios Calhoun.
Calhoun also said the mother was frantic running out of the house and that was when he became suspicious of what was going on.
Officers then took Johnson to the police department after being located in the area of the home. Johnson told investigators that she last saw the baby alive at 2:15 a.m. on Sunday, while giving the baby a bottle before laying her in bed.
Johnson also claimed the 13-year-old sibling was present at the house and helped with child care until leaving to go to a friend's home around 7 p.m. The 13-year-old sibling told officers that the baby was fine and uninjured when they left.
The probable cause statement said investigators were able to take a swab from a dark blue shirt of Johnson's. The result was a presumptive positive for the presence of blood. The baby's pink and white onesie, which she was wearing before the parents left, was found soaking wet by officers after a search warrant was executed. The baby was transported to the hospital, only wearing a diaper.
Officers also spoke to an acquaintance of Johnson's, who said she had called them around 8:53 a.m. Sunday, and said something like "her head, her head" and "she's gone."
Johnson said she did not leave the residence after the baby was taken to the hospital. The father arrived back home around 11 p.m. Sunday and told Johnson that the baby didn't make it. Johnson told officers that she hadn't known the baby died until the father told her. The probable cause says Johnson seemed aware that the baby died and even made a reference to the head injuries on one of her many phone calls after 8:30 a.m.
Johnson is currently in Boone County Jail custody with no bond.
This investigation is ongoing. KOMU 8 will continue to follow this story as more information is released.