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Couple charged with child abuse was investigated in 2009

Updated: 2013-06-21T03:46:47Z

By TONY RIZZO

The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City couple charged Wednesday with child abuse had been the subject of a 2009 police investigation into their infant daughter’s death.

That death of 6-week-old Sylena Easterwood in Olathe was ruled accidental, according to an autopsy report completed in early 2010.

Sylena’s parents, Arthur L. Easterwood and Telecia T. Hooks, were charged Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court with two counts of child abuse of a 2-year-old daughter.

According to court documents in the Jackson County case, the 2-year-old girl weighed only 17 pounds and had suffered head injuries and broken bones. She and a sibling were taken into state custody.

Sylena’s November 2009 death was attributed to “positional asphyxia due to probable parental overlay,” according to the autopsy report.

The parents told police that they had laid down to sleep and put the baby between them on her stomach. When her mother awoke, she found the baby unresponsive.

Olathe police said Thursday that they did not intend to reopen the case.

“We are confident we did a thorough investigation,” the department said in a written statement.

Easterwood, 33, and Hooks, 22, remained jailed Thursday.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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