Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Saturday that the Kansas City area is seeing an alarming and disturbing trend of children falling prey to violent acts.
“These children are an integral part of our community and they are defenseless, innocent and easily injured,” Baker said in a prepared statement.
The comments came as she filed charges in two separate abuse cases involving child victims.
Baker announced she has amended the charges against Mirsad Hamidovic, 23, of Kansas City.
Hamidovic now faces the charge of second-degree murder and abuse or neglect of a child in the death of 2-year-old Lorenzo Estrada of Kansas City.
The toddler died Jan. 10 after being rushed to the hospital the morning before with head, brain and internal injuries.
Lorenzo was in Hamidovic’s care overnight at an apartment in the 1700 block of Washington Street while the boy’s mother was at work.
Lorenzo’s funeral was held Saturday.
In the second case, Baker has charged Ernestine Swinton, 26, of Kansas City, with abuse or neglect of a child or in the alternative first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, both felonies. She also faces second-degree domestic assault.
Swinton allegedly failed to seek medical care for her 7-month-old son after his lower body was burned.
Swinton told police that she gave her son a bath on Christmas Eve in an apartment in the 1300 block of East 89th Street, according to court documents. The boy screamed after being placed in the water.
Swinton told police that she noticed the boy’s skin peel off when she pulled him from the water and that she feared losing custody, so she treated the injury at home.
The baby didn’t receive medical care until a concerned baby sitter called police on Jan. 8.
The boy will require long-term physical therapy to fully extend his legs and learn to walk, prosecutors said.
Baker said the community must do more to protect children from becoming victims of violence or neglect.
“It is our community’s duty to protect them, to look after them,” Baker said. “We must secure our weapons, never strike them (children) when angry, get immediately medical care when they are injured and report, report, report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect.”
People should run to the police station for help when kids are injured, abused or in danger, she said.
“Our children have been shot, beaten, burned and abused. Our metro area should not be a dangerous or perilous place for children to reside.”