On January 8, 2020, Polk County Homicide detectives arrested 26-year-old Kyle Reese of Lakeland for one count aggravated child abuse in the death of a 2-month-old baby that occurred in December 2019.
According to the affidavit, on Monday, December 9th, deputies and PCFR personnel responded to Reese’s home on North Acorn Drive to an unresponsive infant call. 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. She was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital with multiple rib fractures, a skull fracture, and severe bleeding on the brain. She succumbed to her injuries on December 12, 2019.
During interviews and a reenactment, Reese told detectives that he was home alone with four children (the twin babies, and two other children ages 4 and 6), trying to eat after having fed all four of them. He told detectives that the two children and one of the babies were on a couch, while he held the other baby. He said that the two children caused the baby to begin to fall from the couch, and while he was trying to prevent that baby from falling, he dropped the one who was in his arms, and she fell head first onto the ground. He added that he may have fallen on top of her after she hit the floor.
The Hillsborough Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the baby, during which he located numerous bruises to the front, back, and both sides of the baby’s head, on her back, and on her neck; two skull fractures; hemorrhaging of the optic nerves; and hemorrhaging down the spinal column, indicative of severe trauma. Three of the baby’s ribs were fractured and mostly re-healed, indicating they happened previously and not during the December 9th event. The cause of death was ruled cranial cerebral and cervical trauma, and the manner of death was ruled homicide.
The Medical Examiner and detectives determined that Reese’s statements on how the baby was injured were not consistent with her traumatic and fatal injuries, and that her injuries noted during her autopsy could not have occurred from a fall.
Reese was Baker Acted by PCSO on December 13, 2019, in relation to this event, and has been hospitalized since that time with self-inflicted injuries. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and upon his release from the hospital, he was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Polk County Jail.
Sheriff Grady Judd said, “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.”