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Michigan babysitter killed toddler by 'using her as a punching bag' after getting high on rum and meth

Kellie Barthel, 36, was arraigned on charges of murder and first-degree child abuse
Kellie Barthel (Michigan Police)
Kellie Barthel (Michigan Police)

DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN: A babysitter has been accused of killing a toddler by "using her as a punchbag" after binging on rum and meth. Vayda-Kay Vasquez died from a fractured skull in Douglass Township, Michigan, weeks before she was due to turn two years old. The victim was last filmed alive sitting on the front seat of a car driven by Kellie Barthel, 36, her babysitter, when a security camera at a gas station recorded the latter picking up a bottle of Captain Morgan rum on March 1, the Sun reported. 

The next morning, Barthel's boyfriend arrived at her house where she was babysitting, to find a lifeless child, soaked in blood, lying on the bed next to the accused. 

In a 911 call, Barthel could be heard downplaying the severity of the child's injuries as she argued with her boyfriend, who wanted her to imply that the matter was much more serious. The call in question was made by the boyfriend who initially said that the child was not breathing and was covered in bruises. 

“At one point during the 911 call, Kellie Barthel gets on the phone and reports the child is fine, is breathing and just had a bloody nose and they can send an ambulance if they wanted,” Detective Brian Siemen told the court. “Barthel and (the man) could be heard arguing over the wellbeing of the child and Barthel at one point tells him to leave her home.”

The judge was also told that first responder Trevor Rogers, a state trooper, found a disturbing scene at the home. According to Siemen, Barthel "threw Vayda to the floor" in front of the officer and "told him to do something". However at that point, the child was long dead and her body had gone cold.

Vayda-Kay Vasquez died weeks before she would have turned two this month. (Michigan Police)

“The victim’s body was covered from head to toe in bruises,” Siemen said. “EMS staff advised that it appeared to them that the child was used as a punching bag and it was very apparent that the child had been deceased for quite some time.”

A forensic team which examined the crime scene said that there was blood everywhere in the house. Starting in a craft room, which was in a disarray with flower pots tipped over, they found blood on the floor, along with soil.

Blood spatter was also found on the furniture. A trail of blood led throughout the house into the bathroom. A bloody towel draped over the door of the bedroom was found, while more stained towels were discovered in a kitchen trash can. 

After her arrest on March 2, Barthel tested positive for methamphetamine and THC and had alcohol in her blood. After interrogation, Barthel confessed to spanking the child five times on the backside after she urinated on the floor. She also claimed the victim slipped and hit her head but was not injured. 

However, an autopsy revealed the child's skull was shattered by repeated blows to the back of the head, which were not consistent with a fall.

The accused was arraigned on charges of murder and first-degree child abuse at Montcalm County court last week, where she appeared via video link from the prison. She was ordered to remain in custody. She is due in court again on April 29.