Michigan 2-year-old died from brain bleed, collapsed lung after being 'hit with fist' repeatedly, say police
The family of Kayden Blackmer described him as "full of life" and have called for justice against those responsible for his death
ALLEGAN, MICHIGAN: The family of a two-year-old boy who died from bleeding in the brain after he was struck multiple times have called for action to be taken against those responsible, namely his mother and her boyfriend. Kayden Blackmer died at Bronson hospital on May 11, 2020, two days after he was airlifted from Allegan General Hospital, according to WWMT3. He had just celebrated his second birth on May 3. The two-year-old boy had been admitted to Allegan on May 9, with county family records indicating he had suffered a fractured skull, fractured ribs, a brain bleed, and a collapsed lung. "They said it looks like a guy basically took his fist and started beating his head with his fist," said David Holmes, Kayden's father.
Kayden and his 11-month-old sister Rosalee Blackmer had been in the care of his mother Khierstin Powers and her boyfriend Joshua Martin when they were both rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. The young girl had bruises on her cheeks and chin, and a partially healed skull and rib fracture. "My daughter, his sister, also has bruising," Holmes told WOODTV. "She had fractured ribs and a skull fracture that were in the process of healing, so it wasn’t like it was all done in the same day."
While Rosalee eventually recovered from her injuries, her brother was not so lucky. Swelling and bleeding in his brain resulted in his heart stopping repeatedly, and the family eventually took the difficult decision to stop treatment. Holmes, who lives in Big Rapids, revealed he wasn't able to see his son before he was pulled off life support at Bronson Hospital because of visitor restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. "It's killing me that I couldn't even say goodbye to him. They wouldn't even wait for me to drive two hours to drive down there to see him," he said.
Deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff's Office have since ruled Kayden's death as suspicious, and detectives are currently waiting for the results from his autopsy. In the meantime, they have determined that before his death he and his sister were both abused, and a judge has ordered Rosalee to be removed from her mother's care. "It was consistent with what we felt was abuse and it wasn't consistent with the explanation they initially provided to medical staff," said Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker.
Speaking about Martin, who is currently in custody but has not been identified since he has not been charged with a crime, Baker said that an investigation was ongoing and that an arrest could be made after the autopsy was completed. "I think in the near future there's a lot more information we can make available," he said.
On Tuesday, May 12, the family released balloons in remembrance of Kayden. They have also set up a GoFundMe page to raise donations that would cover the cost of his memorial. "He loved to play outside, he loved his sister, his cousins, his grandpa, his grandma," Holmes shared. "He was full of life."
"I’d like to see justice for him."