Mother, 2 babysitters charged in death of toddler after falsely claiming she accidentally fell down the stairs
Prosecutors believe the mother-daughter babysitter duo initially claimed the toddler's fall was an accident so they could cover up their role in his injuries and previous abuse
In late April, 3-year-old toddler Brantley Santiago died after he fell down a flight of stairs in his home located in Orwell, Ohio, while he was being cared for by babysitters. The child sustained blunt force injuries to his head, body and extremities and also sustained injuries to his brain, skeletal and soft tissues.
The toddler died a few days later in a hospital. The authorities were told at the time it was an accident. In November, however, the child's babysitters, Valorie Olah and Samantha Olah, were indicted along with his mother, Beverly Santiago, in connection with his death.
Brantley's tragic death was ruled a homicide, PEOPLE reported. The prosecutors believe the mother-daughter babysitter duo initially claimed the toddler's fall was an accident, so they could cover up their role in his injuries and possibly also cover up previous abuse.
Prosecuting Attorney Nicholas Iarocci said in a press release: "Medical evidence demonstrates that the injuries sustained by Brantley which led to his death could not have been exclusively caused by a fall down a flight of stairs, as alleged by the Olahs."
He also said, according to the evidence, Brantley "exhibited other injuries sustained while in the care of the Olahs" even before he died. Beverly, his mother, was allegedly aware of the unexplained injuries that her son previously suffered while in the care of the Olah's, according to Iarocci. He added she was told by a pediatrician just days before her son died, she should avoid using the mother-daughter duo as babysitters.
According to prosecutors, 26-year-old Samantha and her 57-year-old mother Valorie each face two counts of murder, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of felonious assault, one count of second-degree endangering children and one count of third-degree endangering children.
35-year-old Beverly has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and one count of endangering children. She has also been accused of not protecting her child and putting him in the care of the Olahs while she went to work, in spite of the warnings given to her about Brantley's safety.
According to the Star Beacon, the three women were arraigned December 7 and have pleaded not guilty to all the charges. During the hearing that took place, William Bobulsky, the Olahs' attorney, asked that Samantha be able to have her toddler son visit her in jail but the judge denied the request. Gary Pasqualone, Beverly's attorney, said she will be forcefully disputing the case presented by the prosecution.