Almost a year later, justice is coming for baby Henry Anderson.
Henry died after his foster mother, who was also the wife of a biological family member, brought Henry to the emergency room at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota on April 23, 2020, blue and unresponsive. Sanford is about 40 minutes away from the family’s home in Barnesville, Minnesota, and the doctor who examined the baby ascertained that his core body temperature was 82 degrees, which meant Henry had been dead for approximately the same length of time it would have taken for his foster mother, 35-year-old Kellie Jo Anderson, to drive him there.
At first, Kellie told medical staff she had kept Henry home from daycare that morning because he had a low-grade fever of 99.8 degrees and wasn’t feeling well, possibly due to teething. His injuries, however, told a very different story.
Officers from the Barnesville Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office responded to the hospital in Fargo to investigate a report of child neglect, where they observed multiple disturbing injuries on little Henry’s body, including several bruises on his back and side, a bump on the back of his head, a cut on the inside of his lip, numerous bruises and marks on his face and head, and a deep laceration on his genitals.
Kellie’s next story was that her 18-month-old foster son, who she and her husband, Kyle, had planned to adopt, had a habit of self-injuring, saying he felt no pain. She told investigators that on the day Henry was injured, he “threw himself several times from the bath to the toilet,” causing his own injuries. She said she brought him to the emergency room believing he had suffered a seizure. She also said she heard him “babbling” in his car seat on the way to the hospital, which, based on his body temperature upon arrival, was clearly false.
While Kellie’s husband, Kyle, told police that Henry had been in their care since he was about six months old and that they had become foster parents solely for the purpose of caring for Henry, who they planned to adopt during the coming summer months. Kellie, however, told investigators that she and Kyle had recently discussed calling off the adoption.
Kellie was arrested on a charge of felony criminal neglect. After Henry died of his injuries on April 24, an autopsy found internal injuries in addition to those outlined above. His manner of death was determined to be homicide with a likely cause of asphyxia associated with blunt force trauma. With those results in hand, prosecutors added a charge of second-degree murder with intent against Kellie, a registered nurse who worked in hospice care.
Kellie, now 36, has been held in the Clay County Jail since April 28, 2020.
This morning, I was surprised to find an update on Henry’s case. Kellie Jo Anderson was seen in court via video conference yesterday at 1:30 PM for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Jade Rosenfeldt. During the hearing, Kellie’s omnibus hearing was waived, and the judge scheduled a settlement conference in the case to take place on Thursday, May 6, at 11:00 AM.
In the event that the case is not disposed during that hearing, Judge Rosenfeldt also scheduled Kellie’s one-day jury trial for Tuesday, May 11 at 8:30 AM.
If Kellie is convicted, she could face up to 40 years in prison.
In August of 2020, with Kellie in jail on criminal charges, Kyle Anderson filed for dissolution of marriage with child from his wife. Kyle is represented by attorney Timothy Paul Hill in the divorce matter. Kellie was granted in forma pauperis, meaning she is indigent and cannot afford court costs, which were waived to the tune of $375. The matter is still open in Clay County family court, but I would imagine that if Kellie is convicted in Henry’s death, the divorce will be granted and Kyle will maintain full custody of the couple’s young daughter.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Henry’s story.
Sources: Valley News Live, Clay County Sheriff’s Office