First off, I’d like to apologize for my lengthy and unannounced hiatus from the blog. I’ve had a lot going on these past few months, and I’ve had to apply all my attention, energy, and focus to my family, my job, and myself. Things are still crazy, but honestly, that’s my normal, so I’m hoping I can get back to posting regularly.
And now, on to the case updates, because it’s been a really long time since I checked in on the cases of the precious babies I will always hold close to my heart.
I’m sure you all remember 10-week-old Jazmine Rose Robin, who died after her worthless piece of shit parents inflicted fatal head trauma upon her, along with a total of 96 fractures throughout her tiny body. Her father, Jason Robin Jr., was initially charged with murder, while her mother, Katharine White, was charged with injury to a child by omission due to her complete and utter inaction in the face of her own child’s brutal abuse and murder.
Well, great news, folks! Those charges were upgraded on September 3, 2019. Kat White, age 21, now faces a felony murder charge, and Jason Robin, age 24, has been charged with capital murder.
I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear that, especially after the autopsy findings. Nothing can prepare you for this, so here goes. According to news source KHOU 11: “Jazmine’s autopsy… showed she had two cracks in her skull, 71 on her ribs and 23 throughout the rest of her body. The autopsy also noted her brain was ‘markedly liquified.'” WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Court records state Jazmine’s death occurred because both of her parents hit her; the documents allege Jason used his hands as a deadly weapon. They also state that Kat shook her infant daughter in a manner that was “clearly dangerous to human life,” as well as striking Jazmine with and against a blunt object.
“If he did it, if she did it, if they implemented the death penalty, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings,” Jason’s father, Jason Paul Robin Sr., told KHOU. “I love my son, but he took away somnething I never got a chance to love.”
Here’s an interesting tidbit: both of Jazmine’s parents had open investigations with CPS when Jazmine was born. According to court documents, law enforcement received an anonymous report on or around March 4, 2018 stating that Jazmine’s older brother, Hayden, was seen with bruising on his stomach, legs, arms, and buttocks, and that the children’s maternal aunt saw their father hitting and possibly even kicking Hayden. Hayden was not seen by police or Child Protective Services until after his little sister’s death, because the family had moved and could not be located. Jason and Kat later explained to police that they had moved in with friends out of town.
Jason’s step-mother, Myka Robin, told KHOU that when she and her husband, Jason Sr., saw a photo of Jazmine on Facebook with two black eyes and a swollen head, they tried to call Jason and Kat, but neither would answer the phone. At this point, knowing something was wrong, they reported the alleged abuse, but CPS did not act fast enough to prevent this sweet little girl’s wholly unnecessary death.
After Jazmine’s murder, the couple was subjected to a court-ordered drug test, during which Jason tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana; Kat tested positive for marijuana. No surprises there.
Jason Jr. is being held without bond; Kat was released on a bond of $40,000. Myka and Jason Sr. are in the process of adopting Jazmine’s now seven-month-old sister, Jai’cee, and have vowed to protect and nurture her the way her older sister never was.
Moving on to the case of Wichita two-year-old Zaiden Javonovich, who was discovered dead in his playpen, swaddled tightly in a blanket and bound with the arms of his own pajamas around his neck, in April of this year. An autopsy released on August 5 ruled the little boy’s death a homicide. The cause of death was declared as dehydration and malnutrition, which is an utterly horrifying way to die. I can’t even fathom how much this adorable little man suffered during the days it must have taken for him to expire.
According to the report, Zaiden also had blunt force trauma injuries to his face and head and methamphetamine in his sytem; other significant conditions the autopsy listed included “possible asphyxia.” Zaiden, who weighed a shockingly meager 14.9 pounds at the time of his death and was below the third percentile for weight at his age, had likely been dead for days prior to his discovery, as the autopsy report stated that early decomposition was observed.
On September 9, Zaiden’s mother, 23-year-old
Nosferatu Brandi Marchant, pleaded not guilty in Sedgwick County District Court in connection to her older son’s death. Her younger son, then 4-month-old Tai, was found inside the family’s mobile home at the time of Zaiden’s discovery and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Brandi and Zaiden’s father, 28-year-old Patrick Javonovich, have both been charged with five counts in connection to Zaiden’s death, including first-degree murder, child abuse, and aggravated child endangerment. Brandi’s trial is scheduled to begin on November 12, so I will keep you posted.
For his part, Patrick went to court on September 10, at which time Judge David Kaufman granted attorney Tricia Oldridge’s request to order a mental evaluation for Patrick. He was evidently attacked by a fellow inmate at the Sedgwick County Jail on June 9; the motive is unknown, but 26-year-old Lawrence Brown has been charged with aggravated battery as a result of the assault on Patrick, who underwent brain surgery after the attack and is still recovering. Proceedings in Patrick’s case were postponed without a new date being set, which will occur only if he is deemed competent to stand trial. The whole thing is a damn shame, including the fact that the inmate didn’t finish Patrick off (a la Christopher Scarver vs. Jeffrey Dahmer).
As for baby Tai, who is getting close to a year old, his biological father, Julius “Juice” Casura of Wichita. is still actively seeking custody of the little guy.
Julius seems wholeheartedly committed to bringing his son home for good, even obtaining a food processor just to make his own baby food. Best of luck to him!
Next up is the case of three-month-old Hailey Bannister, the New Jersey baby who was beaten to death in November 2018 by her father, Daniel Bannister Jr., a now-suspended Ewing township police officer. On October 11, 2019, authorities announced that a Mercer County grand jury had handed up an indictment charging Daniel with first-degree murder. On top of that, Hailey’s mother, Catherine Bannister, a former kindergarten teacher at Foundation Academies in Trenton, has been charged with second-degree reckless manslaughter. Both of them were also charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Hailey died from a plethora of horrific injuries, which included nine skull fractures, four fractured ribs, bleeding on the brain, and major eye damage caused by being violently shaken. That poor little pumpkin deserved better than the monster she was given as a father.
Daniel was originally charged with first-degree purposeful murder and Catherine with second-degree endangering welfare of a child, but the grand jury determined additional charges were warranted.
Catherine allegedly told police Daniel had trouble bonding with Hailey. Texts between Catherine and Daniel, as well as between Catherine and others, indicate she was aware Daniel was abusing their infant daughter. Daniel remains behind bars, while Catherine is free on pretrial release.
I also have several updates on the case of five-year-old Illinois boy AJ Freund, the subject of the first case I covered on this blog. AJ was reported missing in April 2019, several days after he died from abuse at the hands of his parents, Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr. (age 60) and JoAnn Cunningham (age 36), who gave birth in prison in May to a baby girl. A paternity test has since proven the infant was not fathered by Drew.
(Where’s Jerry Springer when you need him!?)
The baby’s biological father, 36-year-old Daniel R. Nowicki Jr., had previously expressed via his attorney, William Bligh, that he was interested in having a role in his daughter’s life. It turns out, however, that Daniel is definitely going to miss out on his daughter’s milestones, since he died in September.
You can’t make this shit up.
Daniel was pronounced dead on the evening of September 29, 2019 at St. Vincent Hospital in Kokomo, Indiana; he had been admitted several days earlier, according to Howard County, Indiana coroner Dr. Steven Seele, who also said, “It’s under investigation as a drug overdose; that’s what is suspected.”
At one point prior to both of their deaths, Daniel lived in the same home as AJ, along with Drew, JoAnn, and AJ’s younger brother. I don’t want to imagine what went on under that roof for so many reasons. Daniel was in jail at the time of AJ’s death after attacking staff at a hospital in December 2018. Daniel’s criminal history included several stays in prison dating all the way back to 2004. Many of his various charges were drug-related.
In other AJ-related news, Drew’s law license has been suspended indefinitely by the Illinois Supreme Court as he awaits trial in AJ’s murder case. Drew previously had his law license suspended in 2015 in relation to his role as the divorce attorney of JoAnn Cunningham herself. (Honestly, though, is this an episode of The Jerry Springer Show?)
AJ should have turned 6 on October 14, but instead, about 60 people gathered the day before to commemorate what would have been the sweet little guy’s special day. They brought balloons, cupcakes, and bubbles and met at Depot Park, from where they walked past the Crystal Lake, Illinois police station to end up at the boarded-up home at 94 Dole Avenue where AJ and his family used to live. The group, organized by a local organization called ROAR for AJ, sang Happy Birthday in his honor, some holding signs wishing AJ “Happy Birthday in heaven,” others bearing signs demanding Drew and JoAnn, as well as DCFS, face the music for AJ’s death.
According to the Chicago Tribune, organizer Tracy Kotzman explained she wanted to find a way to honor AJ’s birthday as well as “to keep the light shining on this preventable tragedy.”
Here’s a little plot twist for you: AJ’s estate has filed a lawsuit against two Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators, alleging they showed “inhumane indifference” to AJ’s safety, which led to his murder. The lawsuit accuses Carlos Acosta, a DCFS child protection specialist, and his supervisor Andrew R. Polovin of leading a “sham investigation” into prior allegations of abuse, as well as falsifying reports about their work on AJ’s case. The suit alleges that the two men, instead of protecting AJ, ignored credible reports of abuse, including multiple calls from law enforcement, medical staff, and neighbors, and returned AJ to his parents. According to the lawsuit, “Defendants Acosta and Polovin, ignoring DCFS procedures… returned AJ right back into the claws of his abusers, who were further emboldened by the defendants’ indifference to gear up their infliction of horrific physical and mental abuse and torture, culminating in AJ’s murder on April 15, 2019.”
The suit continues, “Emboldened by [the defendant’s] conscious indifference to AJ’s safety, AJ’s parents increased the intensity and frequency of their beatings and torture, relishing in their barbarism to the point of producing a video of their handiwork timestamped March 4, 2019, and ultimately, leading to AJ’s murder on April 15, 2019.” Police believe AJ died after being forced to endure a 20-minute cold shower by his parents and then being beaten in the head. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for AJ’s estate, which is administered by the State Bank of Geneva.
In case you’re not depressed enough, next in the tragedy parade is the case of Dylan Groves, the weeks-old Ohio infant found dead at the bottom of a well in June. Dylan’s full autopsy report was released in October, revealing that Dylan, who died of “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology,” suffered multiple bone fractures, including his skull, left arm, and left leg. He was wrapped in plastic bags secured with duct tape and then placed in milk crates weighted down with rocks and an anchor-type weight, the crates bound by chains, padlocks, zip ties, and metal wires. This entire contraption containing Dylan’s tiny, broken body was then dumped unceremoniously down a well, allegedly by his drug-addled parents, 41-year-old Daniel Groves and 39-year-old Jessica Groves. Oh, and did I mention the autopsy report also revealed that Dylan died with drugs in his system, including meth and other amphetamines? The full toxicology report is not being released, so God knows what else the poor kid had on board. Dylan’s body wasn’t found until several weeks after his death.
Jessica, who pled not guilty by reason of insanity, was subjected to a competency hearing in September and found competent to stand trial. Her attorney then withdrew her plea and instead entered a plea of not guilty to her charges, which include murder and receiving stolen property.
Daniel and Jessica will face a five-day jury trial beginning January 6, 2020.
Finally, I have a few updates about the case of murdered two-year-old Noah Tomlin, whose mother, 34-year-old Julia Leanna Tomlin, has been charged in his death. I apologize in advance for what I’m about to disclose to you, but it is my self-imposed duty to speak the truth about the horrific acts perpetrated on the children whose stories I cover.
Noah’s autopsy was released this week, and I am utterly sick over it. The things his mother “allegedly” did to him are twisted, repulsive, horrifying, and unimaginable.
According to the report issued by the Hampton Coroner’s Office, Noah’s death was ultimately caused by two fractures to his skull. These injuries were as severe as those a child would suffer falling from a multiple-story building. Can you imagine the force necessary to cause fractures like that in a toddler’s skull? The autopsy report also indicated signs of blunt force trauma and battered child syndrome, including, according to Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell, “the types of injuries that you would find that would literally stop the growth of bones… due to either some severe disease, such as cancer, or some type of abuse — or even malnutrition.”
Some of the injuries appeared to have begun the healing process, which would seem to indicate the abuse began before the fatal skull fractures were inflicted. These injuries included fractures to Noah’s jaw and hip, three posterior rib fractures, and hairline fractures in the tibia and radius, as well as bruising to his ribs. The medical examiner opined that these injuries could not have been caused accidentally.
The medical examiner, who was assisted by an anthropologist due to the advanced decomposition of Noah’s remains, was initially only able to examine individual parts of Noah’s body due to the condition in which he was found amongst tons of garbage at the Hampton Steam Plant in early July. The only recognizable body parts were Noah’s liver and his severely bruised left leg.
Hold on; BRB, gotta scream myself hoarse.
How heartbreaking that only DNA analysis allowed authorities to identify little Noah. The anthropologist was, however, able to reconstruct Noah’s skeleton, which helped the medical examiner detect the older injuries.
Bell and his office believe one of Julia’s friends may have helped her conceal Noah’s death by driving his body to a dumpster in Buckroe Beach; even so, no one else has been charged in connection with the little boy’s murder. Bell said the other person may not have realized they were helping dispose of a body.
According to court documents released in October, investigators swabbed several suspected blood stains in and around the Tomlin home. On one item of clothing tested, a red polo shirt in size 5T, blood was present in six separate stains. Blood was also present in nine different stains on a bed sheet. DNA testing eliminated Julia as a contributor to the stains, as well as two of Noah’s siblings who lived in the Buckroe Beach home. Noah’s DNA could not be eliminated as a contributor to the blood found.
Julia, who has told investigators that Noah hit his head while taking a bath all by himself — you know how two-year-olds like to bathe in private! — and drowned, was arraigned on November 4 on charges of murder and unlawful disposal of a dead body; she was arraigned in July on three charges of child neglect stemming from Noah’s death.
A preliminary hearing for all five of Julia’s charges will take place at 10:30 AM on December 9, 2019. She is currently being held at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail.
Aaaaand that’s enough terrible news for one day, don’t you think?
For more of my coverage on these cases, click the child’s name below:
Sources: KHOU, Chron, KAKE, KFDI, The Wichita Eagle, Wikipedia, The Trentonian, NJ.com, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Herald, WTSP, The Columbus Dispatch, WTKR, CrimeOnline.com, Local12.com, Daily Press, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, NZ Herald