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Charges Announced In Series Of Child Deaths

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Kym Worthy. (File Photo -Credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

Kym Worthy. (File Photo -Credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Seven people have been charged in the deaths or injury of five young children across Wayne County.

The crackdown is courtesy of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

“Twenty-five babies or more have died in Wayne County each year over the last 10 years,” Worthy told reporters at a media conference Thursday. “That’s a minimum of 350 babies that would be alive today if proper safety practices were practiced.”

In announcing the charges, Worthy said each of these cases showed a high level of negligence and, in some instances, drug and alcohol impairment on the part of the parents.

A Dearborn Heights couple is charged in the January death of their 6-month-old boy who was left sleeping with two siblings. It’s alleged hat Terri Lynn-Outhwaite Julite, 32, and Saad Mehdi-Sahib Al-Asadi, 31, failed to check on the child, whose 12-year-old sister discovered had stopped breathing.

Julite and Al-Asadi are among four people facing manslaughter to second degree murder charges after they put their child in parent’s bed or in a bed cluttered with blankets.

This is the first time, said Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is bringing charges for unsafe sleep practices.

Eleanor N. Crosby, 21, of Detroit, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse after prosecutors says she fell asleep drunk in bed with her baby who then died in the night.

Kassie Lyn Laretz, 29, of Westland, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse after she allegedly left her 4-month-old child in bed at home alone. Prosecutors say Laretz was taking seven types of prescription drugs at the time.

Wilma Jean Gissantaner, 51, and Cheneka Gardner, 28, both of Detroit, are charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse after prosecutors say they failed to properly supervise a 5-year-who drowned last fall in a hotel pool.

In another case, Aisha Tahir, 29, of Dubuque, Iowa, is charged with leaving her 6-month-old child in a locked car outside a Van Buren Township Walmart store in June. The child survived.

“The children that are dead in these cases are just as dead as if they’d been shot by a bullet or battered to death,” said Worthy. “All of these situations could have been prevented,”

All charged in these cases were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday or Friday.

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