Mom, 62, Charged After Son Fatally Beats Her Newborn
Kathleen Steele left kids inside van, say police
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2016 1:25 PM CDT
Kathleen Steele   (Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – The fact that a 62-year-old woman recently gave birth to a daughter is newsworthy—as is the fact that she left that newborn and two sons, aged 3 and 6, alone in a locked van for 38 minutes while she was inside a store. But that's just the beginning of a sad tale out of Florida: Police say Kathleen Steele's 6-year-old son beat his 13-day-old sister to death Monday while his mom was inside a cellphone repair shop in St. Petersburg. The boy told officers that he punched his sister in the face, flipped her upside down, banged her head on the ceiling, then let her fall to the floor, reports the Washington Post—all because she wouldn't stop crying inside the van. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri blames Steele, who described her IVF treatments on a reality show, and "is, by all accounts, ill-equipped to have a baby."

When Steele returned to the van, she continued to run errands and called a neighbor who is a nurse only when she discovered her daughter blue and cold two hours later, police tell KTLA. The nurse called 911. By that point, the newborn looked like she'd "been pummeled," with a skull that was essentially "mush," Gualtieri says. As emergency personnel tried to revive the child, Gualtieri says Steele put away groceries. Authorities say the newborn suffered a minor brain bleed when she was days old—she reportedly fell out of a car seat—but Child Protective Services found no evidence of abuse. Steele, who police say wanted to have more kids, per the Tampa Bay Times, is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. Her sons are now in foster homes.
 

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