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Mother, daughter face trial in Iowa County teen’s reckless homicide; pathologist cites “torture”

IOWA COUNTY (WKOW) — A judge Tuesday ruled a mother and daughter charged with reckless homicide in connection with the death last year of a 13-year-old Iowa County girl will face trial.

(Tweets from court HERE.)

Laurie D. Barry, 50, and her daughter, Alexis E. Barry, 28, of Mineral Point, face the charges in the May 31, 2018, death of Selah Kaden.

(Criminal complaint: Suspects in Iowa County teen’s death tell one story, autopsy tells another)

Selah is the daughter of David and Lisa Kaden, who reside in North Carolina, according to a criminal complaint filed earlier.

The Kaden’s had temporarily placed their daughter in the care of the Barry’s to receive respite from the teen’s emotional and psychological issues as they addressed the serious medical needs of another child.

Iowa County detective Lana Bowers testified Laurie Barry told her on the morning of the teen’s death, the girl “…fell backwards and hit her head hard on the floor.”  Bowers testified Barry said the teen fell again ten minutes later, and ultimately remained on the ground, but alert.

Bowers testified Laurie Barry said the teenager had recently escalated attention-grabbing, fake fainting episodes.

Bowers said Kaden’s parents reported the teen had sneaked into the homes of neighbors in North Carolina and ate food that made her sick before he relocation to Wisconsin, but was not involved in any self-harm.

UW forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Stier testified the girl suffered over fifty “impact-injuries” over body that were not consistent with harming herself.  Stier said the teen’s condition showed she had been suffocated and beaten over time, and had worn a diaper.

“That’s why, one of the reasons why I use for the first time in my profession the word ‘torture,’ ”  Stier said.  “Because this child was suffering.”

“It is also not a fast death to smother or suffocate because this takes minutes of applied force,”  Stier testified.

Bowers testified she received information from a physician at an Iowa County hospital after the teenager was taken there and pronounced dead.  “He explained that the death was four to five hours prior to the 911 call,”  Bowers said.

Bowers said Laurie and Alexis Barry had an explanation for why 911 was not called earlier.  “They believed Selah was fake fainting and observed signs to make them believe that,”  she testified.

Detective Brian Fitzsimons testified emergency medical technicians who responded to the Barry home asked for a law enforcement response after interacting with Alexis and Laurie Barry and her husband Jesse.  “Her caregivers seemed suspicious and were not overly concerned with the victim’s condition,”  Fitzsimons said.

Bowers testified she observed the girl’s condition after her death was pronounced at the hospital.

“There were injuries basically all over her body,”  she testified.

But under cross examination by the Barry women’s attorney, Bowers said Laurie Barry spoke on the phone with Kaden’s father hours before the 911 call and described the teen’s situation and condition, and asked if she should take the girl to a doctor, and the father said no.

Attorney Brian Brophy also contested Stier’s conclusions, even suggesting the teenager could have been injured by donkeys on the Barry property.

The Barrys and Kadens met in 2000 when their children attended the same Madison school.

Alexis and Laurie Barry are free on signature bonds that require they have no contact with the victim’s parents.


Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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