10 Years Later: Mother Charged With Baby Son's Death

Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013  |  Updated 3:47 PM EDT
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10 Years Later: Mom Charged With Baby's Death

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Nearly 10 years after a 2-1/2-month-old boy died his mother is accused of his killing.

Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin announced on Tuesday homicide and child endangerment charges for Wendi Leanne Stanford.

Lehigh County authorities with the assistance of local authorities arrested Stanford Monday where she lives now in Florence, Ala., Martin said.

The investigation into Stanford began in the days after emergency crews responded to a 911 call for an unresponsive baby on Nov. 11, 2003, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

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According to the affidavit, emergency personal found Christopher Harbin in cardio-pulmonary arrest and rushed him to the hospital where he would die two days later.

A CT scan had revealed a large skull fracture and, a day after the death, an autopsy confirmed the child died by blunt force trauma to the head.

Authorities interviewed Stanford, who then used the name Wendi Harbin, her then husband and the young boy’s grandfather. Both men said they were sleeping at the time the boy became unresponsive and police determined that Stanford was alone with the child for hours before calling for help.

Investigators kept looking into the case into 2004 and periodically reviewed it from time to time after that but Martin said there was never evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that would allow for charges.

The case was reexamined this past April with the original forensic pathologist Dr. Samuel Land former Chief of Pediatrics of Lehigh Valley Hospital Dr. John Van Burke taking a look at the evidence. Land concluded that a cardio-pulmonary event could be caused by the type of head trauma the child suffered and Van Burke determined that the severity of the injuries weren’t consistent with Stanford’s explanation.

Stanford and the boy’s father are now divorced. It’s unclear when she will return to Lehigh County to face charges.

 


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