Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus The Article Story ideas iPad Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive

Arkansas woman charged in child-seat death of daughter

by STEVE MROSS THE SENTINEL-RECORD | November 11, 2019 at 6:47 a.m.
Summer Rose Kazzee - Submitted photo

HOT SPRINGS — A woman was arrested Thursday morning on a misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide in the August death of her 9-month-old daughter, who was reportedly choked by a child-seat buckle.

Summer Rose Kazzee, 22, who lists a Civic Street address, was taken into custody around 11 a.m. on the charge, which is punishable by up to one year in jail. Kazzee was being held in lieu of $5,000 bond on the homicide charge and is set to be arraigned Nov. 18 in Garland County District Court.

Kazzee also was being held on a zero bond parole hold stemming from her conviction for first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor Jan. 24, 2018, after a two-day trial where she was sentenced to three years in prison, but later paroled, for allowing her newborn son to starve while under her care in 2016.

According to the probable-cause affidavit on her arrest Thursday, shortly before 5:30 p.m. Aug. 17, Hot Springs police responded to a residence on Snyder Street regarding an unresponsive child. Hot Springs Fire Department personnel were already on scene performing CPR on the 9-month-old toddler and continued the CPR “well after LifeNet arrived.”

The child was loaded into an ambulance and transported to National Park Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Detective Mark Fallis spoke with Kazzee at the hospital, and she said she had tried to put her twins, including the victim, down for a nap by placing them on a bed in a rear bedroom, according to the affidavit. Her daughter wouldn’t lie down and kept getting off the bed, so Kazzee put her in her old car seat on the floor next to the bed to get her to take a nap.

Kazzee told police she strapped the top and bottom straps and her daughter was “rocking herself to sleep.” She said she left the bedroom, pulled the door shut and went to the living room at the front of the house. The affidavit notes the living room was “a considerable distance from the living room” with another bedroom in between.

She said it was 3 p.m. when she put her child in the car seat and she could hear her in the room rocking, the affidavit said. She went back to check on her at 4:30 p.m. and the child was still rocking and “even clapping her hands.” At 5 p.m., she didn’t hear her child anymore so she “jumped off the couch” and ran back to the room.

She said she found her lying unresponsive in the car seat with “the thing in her throat,” explaining she meant the seat’s top buckle, according to the affidavit. She said she took her outside and called for help and LifeNet arrived moments later.

Detectives processed the scene at the house and noted the car seat involved was a Baby Trends rear-facing infant car seat, which had both buckles unbuckled and a blanket inside the seat.

Kazzee was interviewed again Aug. 28 and asked more about the blanket. She said she used part of the blanket to tie around the bottom buckle so her child “wound not mess with it,” the affidavit said. Fallis asked if the child had unbuckled the bottom buckle before, and Kazzee said she had never unbuckled it.

Fallis said he confronted Kazzee about the “unlikeliness” of the child being able to unbuckle the bottom buckle, and Kazzee admitted she “may not have buckled it all the way,” according to the affidavit. She said the car seat was one her child had used as an infant and she used it that day because the child’s normal car seat was left with her father and it was the only one she had.

After further investigation, a warrant was issued Monday for Kazzee. A gag order limiting pretrial publicity in the case was also issued Monday by Garland County Circuit Court Judge John Homer Wright.


Sponsor Content