Court document sheds light on timeline in 1-year-old’s suspected murder
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A probable cause affidavit sheds light on a couple’s arrest in connection with the death of a 1-year-old boy.
Police arrested the boy’s father, Kentrell Willingham and Willingham’s girlfriend, Xjohnna Hannah in connection with the child’s death.
Wichita police said on July 28, Willingham and a family member, who was the child’s legal guardian, exchanged custody. A short time later, the boy become unresponsive and the family member drove the boy to the hospital where he died.
On the evening of July 28, a Wichita police sergeant was at Wesley Medical Center when he heard that a group arrived at the emergency room with an unresponsive child. The boy received immediate medical assistance, but died at 6:41 p.m., about 30 minutes after the sergeant was alerted about the situation.
“The presiding physician (name redacted) noted extensive injuries to the child, consistent with physical abuse,” the affidavit said. “The injuries included bruising to the head, behind the ears, face, back, chest, stomach and legs, as well as blood in the ears, a small circular burn and small lacerations.”
The affidavit said the doctor suspected physical abuse, saying, “the child was in rigor, cold to the touch, and had fixed and dilated pupils.”
A woman who said she was the 1-year-old boy’s legal guardian, said two days prior, on July 26, his biological father requested visitation time with the toddler. The woman said the boy had no bruises, cuts or other recent injuries when his father “took over care and custody.”
In the effort to determine how the boy was injured and ultimately died, a Wichita police detective, through interviews, learned the boy’s father (redacted in the affidavit, but previously identified as Willingham), was in a dating relationship with Hannah and that the father and his toddler son stayed with her from July 26 until July 28 at a southeast Wichita apartment complex.
The affidavit said, in an interview with a detective, Hannah said she never saw the boy with injuries or bruises and “never really saw him awake.”
In the affidavit, Hannah recalled several points when she saw the child asleep as she either left or arrived at the apartment.
“She slept most of the day [July 28] and was home alone with ‘the baby’ for around an hour in the afternoon while [Willingham] went to his mother’s to get a vehicle to take ‘the baby’ home,” the affidavit said. “[Willingham] and his mother arrived at the house and they took ‘the baby.’ [Hannah] was later contacted and informed [the boy] died.”
The affidavit said detectives found text messages between Hannah and Willingham on Hannah’s cell phone in which, “she stated she was upset because [Willingham] would not let (the boy) sleep in fear he had a concussion.”
“[Hannah] eventually said [the child] fell or was pushed down the stairs prior to [Willingham] getting custody,” the affidavit said. “She stated she saw no bruising or injuries and never made any attempt to care for the child by calling 911.”
During an interview with police, Willingham said he got his son on July 27 and only stayed one night with him.
“He reported (the boy) had no injuries when he first got him on [July 27] and he only had him for a few hours,” the affidavit said.
In the affidavit, the toddler’s father reported the boy was taken to a lake in northwest Wichita where he reportedly “played roughly with some other kids in the lake.”
Willingham reported his son was “uninjured, alert and smiling” when he placed him in a vehicle on July 28 (returning to his legal guardian). In the affidavit, he said he learned about two hours later that his son was in the hospital.
The affidavit said a postmortem exam on the boy’s body included preliminary findings of blunt force injuries to the head, neck, torso and extremities, abrasions and contusions to the head, neck, torso, and extremities.
“[The doctor] also noted multiple other injuries,” the affidavit said. “The cause of death and manner of death are pending.”
Following their arrests, bond for Willingham and Hannah was set at $250,000. As of at least late August, Willingham, charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and aggravated endangering a child, was out on bond.
Records show on Aug. 2, Hannah was also charged with murder, child abuse and child endangerment. Records also show she is no longer in jail, as of last month.
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