By Kim Wilhelm
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
November 20, 2009
(DODGE CITY, Kan.)
The home video is heart-wrenching. You see Natalie Pickle with her curly red hair from the time she was learning to walk to her last birthday party. She smiles and giggles at the camera and you can't help but continue watching to see what's next for the little girl full of laughs and silly songs.
It has been one year since Natalie's death. Last November, Natalie's family says she was in the care of her mother's boyfriend in Dodge City when something happened.
The family says the boyfriend explained she fell off the bed. She was flown to a Wichita hospital and died on November 20. The family says doctors told them the injuries were too severe to be caused by a fall from a bed.
"He told us this looked like something from a fall from a five story building," said Amanda Perry, Natalie's mother. "This isn't something you see from a two foot bed."
While investigators have ruled it a homicide, a year later the case remains open and no charges have been filed by the Ford County Attorney.
Donnie Pickle, Natalie's grandfather, is frustrated by how slowly the case has moved forward.
"Justice hasn't been served," said Pickle.
The autopsy shows death was a consequence of blunt trauma to the head - consistent with impact from an object rather than a fall to the floor.
Pickle says the frustration grows when he sees cases in Sedgwick County that are charged quickly.
"They weren't 365 days forthcoming," said Pickle. "They were immediate. My real question is what's taking so long?"
Pickle does believe someone will be held responsible for Natalie's death and charges will eventually be filed. The trying part is waiting.
"The truth will come out," said Pickle. "I know it will. It has to."
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