Jackson County prosecutors charged Mark A. Guenther Wednesday with two counts of first-degree assault in connection with the death of his 15-month-old daughter, Elizabeth Guenther.
Lee's Summit police confirmed today that Elizabeth Guenther was pronounced dead around 9 a.m. yesterday.
Court documents say on February 8 around 2:10 p.m., officers responded to a call of an unresponsive child at 114 S.W. Donovan Road in Lee's Summit.
A doctor at Children's Mercy Hospital told police that Elizabeth Guenther had suffered the following injuries:
say the doctor will testify that Elizabeth Guenther's injuries were the
result of "abuse." The doctor told police that the bruises on the
girl's jaw line were the result of a hand being wrapped around the
front of the girl's neck. The doctor added that if Elizabeth Guenther
did survive, she would have severe brain damage.
interview with police on February 8, Mark Guenther gave a couple of
different stories before finally admitting that he was "trying to
restrain" his daughter on the bed to give her a breathing treatment for
asthma and she was fighting him and being a "troublemaker." Guenther
admitted being "too forceful," using his leg to pin the girl's legs
down, because she was a "pretty strong girl." Afterward, he noticed red
marks and bruising on the girl.
When officers asked him how long he had his hands around his daughter's
neck, Guenther said "two minutes." Guenther recalled that afterward,
his daughter was "out of it" and "just laying there" so he decided to
give her a bath to wake her up. Elizabeth Guenther was "wobbly" and
didn't want to move. Guenther said he waited to call for help because
he was scared.
Court records say Mark Guenther admitted growing "frustrated" and
"upset" with his daughter's crying and admitted that he "smacked her in
the back of the head" for being "fussy." Guenther demonstrated that he
had punched the girl with a closed fist twice in the back of the head,
and added that the girl's head struck the table. Guenther told police
that the girl was "quiet" and just "laid there" afterward. "I wasn't
trying to hit her that hard," Guenther told police.
The detective interviewing Guenther believed that he'd used more force.
Guenther confessed that his daughter was still crying so he took her
out of the high chair, pushed her on the floor and grabbed her by the
neck and shoulders and threw her onto the carpeted living room floor
three or four times.