The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 4, 2012

Girl dies; mother arrested in abuse case

Murder charge being sought on mother’s boyfriend

By Jeff Lehr

Eighteen-month-old Ada Bowman never regained consciousness before dying Saturday morning in a Kansas City hospital, according to the Newton County sheriff.

Sheriff Ken Copeland said she had been on life support since being revived by emergency medical technicians Tuesday night at her home in the Bykota Mobile Home Park southeast of Joplin and being transported to the hospital, Copeland said. An autopsy was scheduled to be conducted Saturday in Kansas City.

The sheriff said the girl’s mother, Gina L. Salazar, 22, was permitted to see her daughter a few hours after her death.

“We made arrangements for her to see the child one last time,” Copeland said.

A court order had prohibited Salazar from seeing the girl while she was still alive and being treated at the hospital. On Thursday, felony charges of endangerment of the girl’s life and hindering prosecution in a child-abuse investigation were filed against her, but she had yet to be arrested.

Kansas City police placed her under arrest about noon Saturday after she’d been given the chance to see her daughter, Copeland said. He said a sheriff’s investigator would be bringing her back to Newton County later in the day.

The mother’s boyfriend, Bryant L. Sykes Jr., 24, is accused of having caused the girl’s injuries, which included hemorrhaging on both sides of the brain and damage to her liver, spleen and ribs.

Sykes has been jailed since Wednesday, charged with first-degree assault. The sheriff said an upgrading of the charge will be sought in the wake of  the girl’s death.

“We will be requesting a second-degree murder charge against him from the prosecutor,” he said.


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