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Lakeland man arrested for child abuse after baby with skull fractures dies

Polk County

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A 26-year-old Lakeland man is facing one count of aggravated child abuse following the death of a 2-month-old baby that occurred in December 2019.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue crews responded to Kyle Reese’s, 26, home back on Dec. 9 for an unresponsive infant call.

The affidavit said Reese told the first responders that he was home alone with 2-month-old twin babies and two other children, and that he had dropped one of the babies, a female.

The baby was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital with multiple rib fractures, a skull fracture and severe bleeding on the brain. She later died because of her injuries on Dec. 12.

Reese told detectives during an interview that he was home alone with the four children, the twin babies and two other children aged 4 and 6, and was trying to eat after having fed all four of them.

Deputies say he told detectives that the two children and one of the babies were on a couch, while he held the other baby.

Reese said the two children caused the baby to begin to fall from the couch. While trying to prevent that baby from falling off the couch, he dropped the baby that was in his arms. She fell headfirst onto the ground and Reese told deputies that he may have fallen on top of her after she hit the floor.

A medical examiners autopsy of the baby revealed she had numerous bruises to the front, back and both sides of her head, back and neck. She also had two skull fractures, hemorrhaging of the optic nerves and hemorrhaging down the spinal column.

Deputies say three of the baby’s ribs were fractured and mostly re-healed, which indicated the trauma happened previously and not during the events that took place on Dec. 9.

The cause of death was ruled as cranial cerebral and cervical trauma. The death was ruled a homicide. 

The medical examiner and detectives determined that Reese’s statements were not consistent with the baby’s traumatic and fatal injuries and that her injuries found during the autopsy could not have happened from a fall, deputies say.

According to deputies, Reese was Baker Acted by PCSO on Dec. 13, 2019, in relation to this event, and has been hospitalized since that time with self-inflicted injuries.

Deputies arrested Reese on Wednesday upon his release from the hospital.

“Please, please – if you’re not capable of taking care of children and babies, reach out for help before something horrific like this happens. Now, a family is suffering the loss of a newborn baby girl because Kyle Reese was left in charge of four small children, and he did the unthinkable. He belongs behind bars.”

Grady Judd, Sheriff

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