Ralls County baby death followup

It's been more than two years now since we first reported the death of a 7-month-old baby from Ralls County.

But that death still remains a mystery.

KHQA's Rajah Maples filed a freedom of information request through Missouri Department of Social Services more than a year ago.

She also talked with Ralls County Sheriff Paul Forney Tuesday afternoon about what happened.

Here's what we, and authorities, do know.

According to documents from the Department of Social Services, 7-month-old DaMarcus Kendall's mom and her significant other discovered the baby wasn't breathing, so they called 9-1-1. Emergency crews responded to the home on Meyers Trail just south of Hannibal. The baby was rushed to Hannibal Regional Hospital. He was in cardiac arrest and was bruised on the left side of his face.

The social services reports show his mother told doctors he fell 2 feet off a bed onto a carpeted floor. Kendall was transferred to a St. Louis hospital, where he died two days later. Doctors said the parent's version of what happened was inconsistent with Kendall's injuries. They say the baby had several head fractures and that he died from blunt trauma to the head.

One doctor told investigators that fatalities occur primarily when children fall from much greater heights. He went on to say that "lethal blunt force trauma" caused the baby's injuries, and that this could've happened a number of ways, ranging from being hit by a blunt object or being slammed into a wall.

Sheriff Paul Forney said *one* of the reasons why this case has been so difficult to solve is because his office was not notified about the call until a little more than a day later, when the Division of Family Services finally contacted the sheriff's department. After going through proper procedures of executing a search warrant, authorities didn't arrive at the scene until about 48 hours after the initial 9-1-1 call. Here are some of the pictures they took when they arrived. This shovel was found learning in front of the house by the door. This was the baby's room where emergency crews tried to perform CPR.

Forney said, "Whenever you get started later in the game, there's always the possibility that something has been hidden or taken away or some object you're looking for that is crucial to the case."

Forney along with Ralls County Prosecutor Rodney Rodenbaugh say there have been no new leads in this case.

"We believe somebody out there knows something and could possibly share some information with us to get us on the right track in this case," Forney said. "We would like to see the truth come out, and then the person responsible for the injury of a child like this, we would like to see justice."

If you have any information that could help investigators in this case, you're asked to contact the Ralls County Sheriff's Department at (573) 985-5611, the Division of Family Services at (573) 985-3311 or the Missouri Highway Patrol at (660) 385-2132.