TOWN OF MINERAL POINT (WKOW) — Criminal complaints filed Monday in Iowa County Circuit Court against the caregivers of a dead 13-year-old girl give conflicting stories about what happened in the moments leading up to a 911 call.
Laurie D. Barry, 50, and her daughter Alexis E. Barry, 27, both from Mineral Point, were each charged Monday with first-degree reckless homicide for the 2018 death of 13-year-old Selah Kaden, according to the criminal complaints.
The complaints allege Alexis and Laurie “created an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm to Selah Kaden,” and also say the two demonstrated “an utter disregard for human life.”
The complaints pit Alexis’ and Laurie’s words against the opinion of a medical examiner in a narrative which stretches back over a decade.
The Barrys and Kadens families met in 2000 when their children attended the same Madison school. They grew closer when both homeschooled their children and organized family functions together. The families remained in touch even after the Kadens moved to North Carolina in 2011.
David and Lisa Kaden adopted Selah in May of 2006. At the time, the girl was 19-months-old, suffered neglect and was malnourished.
Due to the trauma she sustained as a baby, the criminal complaint says, Selah “had difficulty developing trusting relationships.”
In 2014, Selah “began counseling for various behavioral and emotional problems.” She would eventually receive medication, according to the complaint.
During this same time, Selah’s older sister was sent to live with the Barrys for several months in an informal foster care arrangement.
Selah’s behavior worsened in early 2018, and her younger sister required surgery out of state, the complaint said.
David and Lisa Kaden, needing the space and time to deal with their youngest’s medical needs, again arranged to have one of their daughters fostered by the Barrys over the summer. This time it was Selah.
According to the complaint, David dropped Selah off at the Barrys’ Iowa County farm on April 24, 2018.
Selah called home several times until the day of her death, including once on Mother’s Day and again on the anniversary of her adoption. The last call was May 24.
It was after this call, Laurie Barry told investigators, that Selah’s behavior worsened.
Selah, according to the Barrys, would steal things around the house, lie, and most consequentially for this case, she started faking fainting spells, according to statements given by Alexis and Laurie.
She would fall, Laurie said, dozens of time between her arrival and death. The falls seemed to be calls for attention, as she would only do it when others were around.
Laurie watched Selah throw herself to the ground in the Barry dining room, get up and say she was mad at her parents and would show them they were wrong for sending her to live with the Barrys.
The complaint singles out a number of alleged falls, including one where Selah injured her wrist, and twice when she fell onto gravel and then down a set of steps leading to the backyard.
Alexis Barry said Selah’s behavior worsened as the young girl became more comfortable with the Barry family.
On the day Selah died, Alexis and Laurie recall two bad falls.
Alexis said she was in the kitchen between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on May 31 when Selah “fell backwards, falling harder than she meant to and hitting her head pretty hard on the floor or possibly the bookshelf,” the District Attorney’s Office summarized.
Laurie described another bad fall to investigators, sometime after 11:30 a.m. that same day, where Selah faked fainting, whipping her head back and again “hitting the floor or possibly the bookshelf.”
Laurie and Alexis describe checking on Selah throughout the afternoon and calling Selah’s parents.
Laurie first called David and told him Selah was faking an injury, but later called Lisa twice. On the second call to the girl’s mother, made just before 4:30 p.m., Lisa said Laurie sounded afraid and admitted something was wrong, according to the complaint.
Throughout the afternoon, Laurie and Alexis told investigators, Selah was breathing and her color good.
Laurie, according to the complaints, said Selah’s condition had not changed until Jesse Barry got home.
Jesse called 911 at 4:39 p.m., and EMT’s rushed Selah to Upland Hills Health.
One of the EMTs is cited in the complaints as believing none of Selah’s caregivers seemed concerned with her condition.
Selah arrived at Upland Hills at 5:13 p.m. and was pronounced dead 12 minutes later.
Dr. Michael A. Stier, a forensic pathologist, performed an autopsy on Selah’s body on June 1 and examined it again the next day.
Stier noted blunt head trauma, but no brain trauma or bleeding. In his opinion, it was not the cause of death.
Instead, Stier saw evidence of Selah being suffocated to death.
There was also evidence of what the criminal complaints call “possible restraint marks about both wrists.”
The District Attorney’s Office says Stier believed “more than one perpetrator was likely involved in causing Selah Kaden’s death and that post mortem findings strongly suggested a delay in reporting the fatality at the scene.”
Attorney for both of the Barry women, Brian Brophy, told 27 News the mother and daughter have no criminal records and a history of caring for children.
“Laurie and Alexis Barry are kindhearted, wonderful people,” Brophy said. “They don’t pose a threat to anybody.”
An initial court appearance is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Iowa County Circuit Court before Judge Margaret M. Koehler.