At about 12:50 AM on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, a blue van rolled up in front of the emergency room at Beacon Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. According to scanner activity, the van dropped off a child who “was not breathing” before the vehicle was seen leaving the north side of the parking garage, traveling in an unknown direction.
This kind of “ER toss,” according to a retired Indiana law enforcement officer, is sadly common in the state, although the victims are usually people who have suffered drug overdoses, gunshots, or stabbings — not children abused to the brink of death. These unfortunate victims are often pushed out of the vehicle onto the pavement before the person speeds off to avoid being questioned.
Fortunately, in this case, the gravely injured patient was not dumped on the pavement, but the way she was left at the hospital wasn’t much better. According to nursing staff, the man driving the van did not identify himself or the child, and as medical staff carried the little girl from the vehicle, he drove off without providing any further information.
The child, who was left at the emergency room by an unnamed party, had suffered life-threatening injuries prior to her arrival and was unresponsive.
Within fifteen minutes of the initial scanner call, it was reported that the child’s mother was on her way to the hospital. It is unclear who notified the mother of her daughter’s admission, but word on Facebook is that she was at work when the little girl was deposited at the hospital. Since the man did not identify himself or the child to medical staff, I have to wonder if he contacted the girl’s mother himself, but that’s speculation on my part.
The child in question was three-year-old Kardie Rose Weathersby, a happy little girl with gorgeous brown eyes and an infectious smile who was loved by everyone who knew her. It seems medical staff was able to revive Kardie, who was born on March 8, 2017, but sadly, she did not survive her injuries, and she was pronounced dead two days later, on October 15.
An autopsy was conducted on the morning of Monday, October 19 in Fort Wayne. Preliminary results released yesterday indicate that Kardie died from blunt force trauma. The manner of death was ruled to be homicide.
According to the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit (CMHU), Kardie died from severe brain trauma.
CMHU investigators have not released information on a suspect, but it is believed by both detectives and family members that the man who left Kardie at the emergency room was her biological father, who was the last person known to have Kardie in his care and custody.
l will not post the man’s real name unless he is officially charged, although he goes by the nicknames Peanut and Pill Dust.
The 21-year-old man, who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was arrested there on Friday, October 16 on a bench warrant issued in June of 2019 for unrelated charges. That warrant stems from a charge filed against him in April of 2019 for larceny from the person, or stealing something directly from another person’s possession. He failed to appear in court for a status conference on June 6, 2019, leading to the bench warrant being issued the following day.
“Peanut” also appears to have been arrested on a separate charge of larceny from the person on February 2, 2017 at the age of 17.
The man’s most recent arrest last Friday was broadcast via Facebook live, apparently by an acquaintance.
Detectives from the CMHU traveled to Grand Rapids on Saturday to interview the man, but he was uncooperative. They did, however, collect a buccal (cheek) swab. Later this week, they will interview neuro and trauma physicians who treated Kardie to determine the mechanism of her death. With any luck, they will present their case to the St. Joseph County prosecutor, Kenneth P. Cotter, early next week, at which time charges will be handed down and the man will be officially named.
Cross every single one of your fingers and toes that he can be charged in St. Joseph County before he has to be released by Kent County. His initial court appearance in Michigan is scheduled for October 23.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit at (574) 235-5009 or Crime Stoppers at (574) 288-STOP.
Kardie’s funeral arrangements are currently pending. Her mother’s best friend, Erin, created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a memorial service for the little girl she called “Boo Boo.” In the campaign, she described Kardie as “the most kind and sweet baby I ever met! She was such a happy and lovable little girl! As her mom said she never wanted to be mad or hurt anyone else even if they were being mean to her.” Donations to the campaign can be made here.
By all accounts, Kardie was a sweet, loving little girl who was adored by everyone who came in contact with her, and her mother, who was 18 when Kardie was born, lived for her little girl. I’m heartbroken for her and for everyone who loved this little princess, including biological and “honorary” grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Thanks to my friend Marshall Talbert for bringing Kardie’s story to my attention.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Kardie’s story.
Sources: South Bend Tribune, Broadcastify, WSBT, WNDU, St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, Facebook, Kent County jail roster, Kent County 17th Circuit Court portal, GoFundMe, Michigan Mugshot Search, Rawls Mortuary