Autopsy results show Rock Hill baby died from trauma to head, chest

jmcfadden@heraldonline.com rsouthmayd@heraldonline.com March 26, 2014 

Kaidence Evans

PHOTO COURTESY OF KIERRA BANKS, KAIDENCE’S MOTHER

Autopsy results released Wednesday show that a 1-month-old Rock Hill girl, who police said was killed by her father in January, died from head and chest trauma.

Kaidence Evans also suffered from swelling in her brain, a hemorrhage in her eyes and bruises on the top of her head, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast.

Police in January charged Kaidence’s father, Quentin Evans, 25, with homicide by child abuse. Officers were sent to a Wright Street home on Jan. 23 after they received calls about an unconscious infant who was not breathing. By the time police arrived, paramedics were already at the scene trying to resuscitate the girl, who was born in December.

She was taken to Piedmont Medical Center, where she died, Gast said. Evans, police said, was alone with the girl when she was injured. It was his turn to watch his daughter, whom he shared custody of with the girl’s mother, Kierra Banks, 22, of Chester.

Evans initially told police that he did not know what happened to the girl, authorities said two months ago. The girl had apparent injuries, police said, including a broken collarbone and bruising they considered consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

A complete autopsy was finished earlier this month. Gast met with members of the girl’s family this week and discussed the results on Wednesday.

“Either something hit her or she hit something, but we can’t say (what) that would have been,” Gast told The Herald.

The girl suffered from swelling on her brain, Gast said, and had several bruises on her body, the most significant of which was on her head.

Toxicology tests determined no improper substances were in the girl’s body, Gast said on Wednesday.

Because Kaidence was a month old, the position of her injuries was particularly dangerous.

“She’s only a month old so she still has the soft spot on the top of her head,” Gast said. “Her skull has not fully encapsulated her brain and she can’t control how she moves.”

During his initial appearance before a Rock Hill Municipal Court judge, Evans was granted a $100,000 bond. But the bond was recalled a day later and Evans was required to reappear before a municipal court judge, who denied his bond, said Clerk of Court Diane Anderson. Municipal court judges cannot set bond on a murder charge. He is held at the York County Detention Center.

Evans’ next court appearance has not been set, said Willy Thompson, deputy 16th Circuit Court solicitor. While he could not comment specifically on the case, Thompson said emotions are typically raw in cases involving child fatalities.

“They’re already extremely high in any case when someone’s killed,” he said. “I think in the case when a child’s killed, emotions run much higher. I don’t think any child homicide is typical. They’re all horrific ... just the nature of them is disturbing.”

Thompson said he has not met with the girl’s family because he would like other materials and tests pertinent to the case returned before speaking with them.

But Kierra Banks, Kaidence’s mother, maintains that what happened to her daughter was an accident. She said she does not believe Evans hurt their baby on purpose.

“I believe the story he told me,” she said.

Evans left Kaidence in a bedroom to go fix her a bottle because she was fussy, Banks said. He heard her “hollering more than usual,” and went back in the room and found her on the floor behind the bed.

“(Evans) hurried up and picked her up,” Banks said.

He tried to comfort her and was rocking her, and perhaps “shook her too hard trying to keep her awake.”

Evans, Banks said, is a sweet, kindhearted person who never so much as raised his voice to a child. She also denies police claims that Evans was home alone with the girl.

“The public should know he’s not a monster,” Banks said. Members of Evans’ family declined to comment on Wednesday.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082 Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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