Mother Charged After 6-Year-Old Beat Infant Sibling to Death in Pinellas County

Mother Charged After 6-Year-Old Beat Infant Sibling to Death in Pinellas CountyPINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA – Police charged Kathleen Steele, 62, with aggravated manslaughter of a child after they say her 6-year-old son beat her 13-day-old daughter to death while unsupervised in a van Monday.

A 62-year-old Florida woman is charged with aggravated manslaughter after authorities said her 6-year-old son beat his newborn sister to death while the children and their 3-year-old brother were left alone in the family’s minivan.

During a news conference Thursday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gulatieri said the baby — 13-day-old Kathleen Bridget Steele — was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at St. Petersburg General Hospital. But investigators believe she died earlier, inside the van where her mother, Kathleen Steele, had left the children for 38 minutes while she visited a cellphone repair shop.

“It was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen,” the sheriff said.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Steele took the baby to a pediatrician Monday morning because she wasn’t eating properly. The doctor found nothing wrong with the baby and later told investigators there were no signs of bruising or trauma.

Investigators say Steele went into the cellphone store at 1:50 p.m. Monday.

The 6-year-old boy told investigators the baby started fussing and he tried to calm her. But deputies said the boy later used a doll to show how he repeatedly slammed the infant’s head into the minivan’s ceiling, dropping her on the floor, flipping her over and pummeling her.

According to investigators, when the mother returned to the van, the boy tried to tell her something was wrong with the baby. They said she disregarded him and stopped at another business before going home. That’s when she noticed the baby’s injuries.

“The baby was beaten and traumatized,” the sheriff said. “There was gross swelling in her face. Her skull was cracked in numerous places.”

Even so, Gulatieri said Steele didn’t call 911. Instead, she called a neighbor who is a nurse. The nurse recognized the baby was dead, but performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

Investigators interviewed Steele Monday night. The sheriff said during the first hour, Steele never asked about the baby and even seemed aloof. He said Steele said, “I guess I have to plan a funeral.”

Gulatieri said the boy will not face criminal charges.

“The mistake is with the adult Kathleen Steele, not a 6-year-old boy,” Gulatieri said.

Steele was already being scrutinized by child protection investigators, Gulatieri said. Just three days after the girl was born, an accidental fire forced the family to stay in a hotel July 29, he said. When the fire alarm went off, Steele told deputies she put the baby in the car carrier but tripped going down the stairs and the baby tumbled out, striking her head. The baby was diagnosed with a minor brain bleed and stayed for two nights in the hospital, according to Gulatieri. A report was made to the child abuse hotline.

Steele was scheduled to be evaluated by investigators Aug. 1, but she canceled and rescheduled.

On Monday, Steele’s sons were placed into therapeutic foster care. Steele is being held on $100,000 bond. It’s unclear if she has an attorney.

The newspaper reports Steele and her husband appeared on an episode of the reality TV show titled “I’m Pregnant and 55 Years Old.” He died of cancer in 2011 at age 66. Deputies say the two youngest children were born through artificial insemination, using the dead husband’s frozen sperm. Steele had been raising the children alone.

Swati Sharma

Swati Sharma is an editor at “On Breaking”. She is a very enthusiastic journalist and has worked for many Esteemed Online Magazines and Celebrity Interview, thus gaining a huge experience before joining the team at On Breaking. You can mail on gmail teenbabe1@gmail.com

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  • Mo

    Sounds like the mom killed the child …. very suspicious!

    • Aissatou Sunjata

      I agree. She did not call the cops, look really at her children to see the 13 day old looked as if something was wrong with her. Also, she got help from a nurse next door and did not take the baby to the hospital or call 911. Who does that? Also, who does that and is 62 years old? Yet, who at 62 years old gives birth and conceives a 13 day old, 3 year old and 6 year old?

      • joy

        Who would want to? Sounds like a nightmare to me.

  • Aissatou Sunjata

    Something sounds not right. She was 62 years old with a 6 year old? A 13 day old? A three year old? 1:50pm in the afternoon in Florida in a van? Mid day and it is not not? Nothing about this story rings like the 6 year old killed the 13 day old. Sarah only gave birth to one an this lady at 62 seems to be able to procreate beyond reason, yet never did she ever do anything which a parent of anyone the ages of her children did she do regarding their welfare and care. Sad for all the children. No matter the truth, the siblings no longer have a newborn sister and someone is responsible for her death.