A Crane woman accused of killing her infant son last year has seen her case bound over to circuit court.
Dakota Cheyenne Moore, 19, is accused of causing her son’s death Sept. 12, 2017. When Stone County deputies arrived at the home on Maud Street in Crane, according to a probable cause statement, the baby, whose name is redacted from the document, was lying on a mattress. Other than two abrasions near his nose, and some minor bruising, there were no obvious signs of injuries, the report states.
An autopsy, completed Sept. 14, showed hemorrhaging and two broken ribs severe enough to be “indicative of blunt trauma.” The autopsy also indicated there was no bruising on the child’s back, so the injury could have been postmortem, after the heart had stopped, according to the police report. After the autopsy, Moore told police the child had fallen out of the bed, but she eventually said she had kicked him.
Moore was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter and abuse or neglect of a child, both felonies. That case was bound over to circuit court – when a judge determined the state had enough evidence to proceed – in March.
But then in May, a new case was opened in associate circuit court, this time charging Moore with first-degree murder. That charge, along with first-degree domestic assault and two counts of abuse or neglect resulting in death or injury, were filed after officials sought additional help from Mary Case, the chief medical examiner of St. Louis, in looking over the autopsy results.
In her correspondence to Stone County Coroner John Cunningham, Case wrote that bruises on the boy’s head indicated the head was held in a manner to suffocate the child.
“It is my opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that this child’s death was inflicted at the hands of another by suffocation. It is a homicide. There are abusive injuries including the rib fractures. The subgaleal hemorrhages are marks indicative of pressure or blunt force on the internal surface of the scalp in at least 10 separate sites. These hemorrages are highly suggestive of finger marks as the head was held in an act of suffocation and are commonly associated with such deaths.”
According to Case, the cause of death was asphyxiation by suffocation and the manner of death was homicide.
Court documents do not state the child’s age, but a press release at the time from the Stone County Sheriff’s Office stated the child was 9 months old. Public Facebook posts at the time show that Moore had twins. Her other child, a daughter, was taken by Moore to stay with Moore’s father in the St. Louis area the day after the son’s death.
According to online court records, Moore waived her right to a preliminary hearing Oct. 10, and the case was bound over to circuit court by Associate Circuit Judge Alan Blankenship.
Moore is scheduled for arraignment before Circuit Judge Jack Goodman Nov. 5 in Stone County Court, according to online court records. She is in the custody of Stone County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.
This case is being prosecuted by special prosecuting attorney Amy Fite.