Police and King County Prosecutors say 25-year-old Chasity Renee DuFour of Enumclaw abused and likely shook a 3-year-old child that she cared for repeatedly, to the point he's partially blind, suffered a hemorrhage in his brain, and will suffer from "lasting neurological and physical challenges." At the root of DuFour's frustration, according to charging documents filed in the case on July 6, is something all parents contend with: potty training.
According to charging documents, Enumclaw Police Detective Grant McCall was summoned to Mary Bridge at 6 p.m. on May 29 at the report of possible child abuse. There, McCall reviewed reports on the child's condition generated by a hospital social worker a radiologist.
According to charging documents, the child:
... was suffering from an acute hemorrhage is the subdural space around the left frontal lobe and a tiny amount of hemorrhage to the right frontal lobe. Also noted in the report were the numerous bruises [the victim] had on his head, chest and back. The Doctor reported that the injury finding were concerning for non accidental trauma.
The following day McCall interviewed DuFour who, according to charging documents, said she was aware of the injuries the boy was suffering from, but was unaware of any trauma that might have occurred over the previous weekend that could have caused it. When asked about a statement made at the hospital that the boy had fallen off a bed, she said that on May 24 the boy had fallen off the bed while playing with her 5-year-old son and hit his head on a metal toolbox that was nearby. This happened around 10 a.m., while DuFour was in the shower. According to charging documents, DuFour says she called to the boy's father and reported the fall. Later, she says she checked the boy, who appeared unhurt, and even reported as much when asked.
McCall later measured the bed and determined it was 35 inches off the ground. The toolbox was also located nearby.
Charging documents indicate DuFour has had three prior contacts and referrals with CPS: in 2008 DuFour had a domestic violence report to CPS involving her ex-husband, in 2009 there was a referal to CPS involving an assault on her oldest son, and in 2011 there was a CPS referral stemming from a positive test for methamphetamine use while pregnant.
On May 30 McCall interviewed the assistant director at the McKenna daycare where the victim had attended, who, according to charging documents, described the young boy as "very, very active," "larger than life," and noting that he "lights up a room when he enters. The daycare director also told McCall that the boy was, at times, difficult to deal with, averaging three temper tantrums a day. Others interviewed by McCall, including a roommate of DuFour's and the boy's father, also reported the boy was extremely active, and at times difficult to deal with.
On May 31 McCall got an update on the boy's condition that suggested he'd been the victim of shaking or choking.
From charging documents:
On May 31st, 2012 I received a phone call from Dr. Duralde reporting an update on [the victim's] condition. Duralde said that [the victim] has damage to his brain tissue and how far that damage extends only time will tell. She also reported that the opthamologist had finished his report and [the victim]has retinal hemorrhages in his eyes which is the indication of shaken baby syndrome or choking. Dr. Duralde concluded that based upon her experience it is possible that the shaking baby syndrome started several weeks ago. Dr. Duralde explained that [the victim] may have been shaken on Tuesday which caused the onset of the seizure and the call to 911 by Chasity DuFour.
On June 7 McCall, Dr. Duralde and a Child Interview Specialist from Pierce County met with the young victim in an attempt to interview him. According to charging documents. Dr. Duralde warned McCall going into the interview that doctors beliveved the boy had been blinded by his injuries and therefore would not be able to see the detective. Charging documents also indicate the interview failed to yield many answers, as the boy was unable or unwilling to answer most questions.
On June 13 the Child Interview Specialist spoke with DuFour's five-year-old son, who, according to charging documents, indicated that "Mom told me to tell she didn't hurt [the victim]." He went on to say that his mom would go to prison or jail if his young brother died. When asked why he thought his mother would go to jail if his brother died, the boy reportedly told authorities that his brotehr "hurts himself on his own," according to charging documents, and "gets bruises because of his allergies and because he falls off the bed a lot."
Charging documents go on to say that the five-year-old told interviewers that his mother spanks and "pushes [the victim] down" when he pees his pants. He also reportedly told interviewers that when the victim is pushed down by his DeFour that "he hurts from the ground and his head gets hurt." The five-year-old also told interviews that when his mom gives spankings she gets "super angry," and "he can tell because he can see her get angry."
DuFour declined to speak with detectives during the later stages of the investigation that eventually led to her arrest and charges being filed. According to King County Prosecutor's request for bail to be set at $250,000:
The defendant has demonstrated the serious threat she poses to minor children in her care based upon the information contained in the Certification for Determination of Probable Cause. The victim was covered in bruises from head to toe, partially blinded, and will have lasting neurological and physical challenges after suffering repeated assaults at the hands of the defendant. It is believed that the source of the defendant's anger towards three-year-old [victim] was potty training.