Neglect charges filed in connection with the death of Clarksville 3-year-old
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Charges have been filed in connection with the death of a 3-year-old Clarksville girl, according to Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mull announced that the State of Indiana has filed neglect charges against 23-year-old Cynthia Weigleb, as well as 27-year-old Joseph Manske, in connection with the death of 3-year-old Alexis Arensman in February. Warrants were issued for their arrests Tuesday and Manske was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon.
Clarksville Police say Weigleb was arrested later Tuesday afternoon.
Weigleb was Arensman's mother. Manske was Weigleb's boyfriend. Authorities say the child died inside a home at the Silver Lakes Mobile Home Park in February of this year.
According to probable cause affidavits obtained by WDRB News, authorities allege that Weigleb and Manske "did knowingly place said dependent in a situation that endangered the dependent's life or health, to-wit: a living environment where she sustained severe injuries which were not timely and properly medically treated; and which resulted in the death of Alexis Arensman."
The probable cause affidavit goes on to detail what Manske told investigators. He allegedly told officials on Feb. 22 that he and Weigleb had never done more than spank the children on the outside of the pants -- but added that he had seen Weigleb "cross the line."
"Joseph reiterated that nobody else in the house aside from him and Cynthia would have disciplined their children," the affidavit states. "Joseph advised that he doesn't believe that he has ever went overboard when disciplining the children but that he has seen Cynthia cross the line and had to intervene. Joseph defined 'crossing the line' as spanking the children too many times and too hard. Joseph stated that Cynthia would swat them five to six times instead of the customary three times and that the force she generated was 150-200 percent. Joseph advised that Cynthia crosses the line 1-2 times a week."
He also allegedly told investigators that Weigleb spanked Alexis Arensman "too hard" before putting her to bed on Saturday night or Sunday morning, and that she cried herself to sleep after it.
An autopsy was performed on Alexis at the Louisville Medical Examiner's Office on Feb. 23. According to the affidavit, multiple injuries to the child were discovered, including "gastric perforation, liver laceration, multiple scalp impact sites, posterior rib fractures, a mask-like burn to the face, and multiple cutaneous contusions and abrasions of multiple surfaces."
The final autopsy report was released on May 27 and cited the cause of death as "battered child syndrome with multiple inflicted blunt force injuries to multiple areas on the body of multiple ages."
According to the probable cause affidavit, Dr. Amy Burrows-Beckham, who performed the autopsy, issued the following opinion: "The cause of death in this battered child is complications of acute an chronic inflicted intra-abdominal injuries with probable sepsis. Asphyxia via smothering cannot be ruled out as a contributory factor."
Both defendants also face neglect charges in connection with injuries sustained to Arensman's sister, another child of Weigleb's, because of her environment.
"It's disappointing again, because I think when you have a 3-year-old who is dead because of -- basically -- child abuse, I would like to be able to charge or prove a murder count in that situation," Clark Co. Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said, "but as a prosecutor I'm bound by the evidence I have or don't have."
According to the affidavit, the Indiana Department of Childhood Services removed Alexis' sister from the care of Weigleb and Manske on Feb. 22. She was then taken to Kosair Children's Hospital for a precautionary evaluation. There, it was discovered that she had sustained numerous injuries, including, "left subdural hematoma, posterior left 9th and 10th rib fractures, laceration of the pancreas (requiring surgery), bruises to the face, legs and back, and abrasions to the face)."
Dr. Vinod Rao, Child Abuse Pediatrician for Kosair, determined that her injuries, "are not consistent with injuries sustained during normal childhood activity for a child of her development," but were consistent with "inflicted child physical abuse," according to court documents.
Alexis' sister allegedly told investigators that Alexis Arensman was, "in the back bedroom with daddy and he hurt her," adding that, "I heard my daddy slam her on the kitchen floor."
Manske and Weigleb are charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death (in connection with Alexis Arensman) and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury (in connection with Alexis' sister).
Alexis' sister is now in a foster home.
Update: Manske was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. This story has been updated to reflect that.
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