TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A couple from Indianapolis are facing charges in Vigo County in relation to the death of a two-month-old later ruled a homicide.
The charges stem from the events of August 22, 2022, when the couple reportedly called 911 reporting the baby was not breathing. The family had been staying at the Econo Lodge in Terre Haute. Court records indicate the child’s father, Jalen M. Byrum, 23, of Indianapolis, has been charged with murder as well as neglect of a dependent resulting in death. While the child’s mother, Alicia Pacheco, 20, of Indianapolis has been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.
According to court documents, after the child arrived at the hospital his face was “blue gray in color, and not breathing.” Nurses noted the child’s eyes were not reactive and the child’s lungs had baby formula inside of them.
The parents told police they never hurt the child in any way, and he’d just been extra fussy for a few days leading up to August 22. Jalen told police the child had been swaddled in a blanket and placed into a swing with its bottle propped up by some sheets when the child began making gurgling noises.
An autopsy performed on the child’s body found numerous injuries, including broken ribs in the process of healing, and bruising “consistent with abusive head trauma”.
Doctors examining the injuries told police the presence of formula in the child’s lungs was likely because the child was unable to protect his airway because of his brain injuries and the bottle he was drinking from was propped.
Investigators learned the couple had been in contact with Marion County social workers in July of 2022 regarding a previous incident that left the child’s arms bruised, injuries later determined by Riley Children’s Hospital staff to be inflicted wounds. Their case was found to be accidental with the parent’s young ages listed as a factor in the determination.
Workers at the Econo Lodge reported feeling uneasy about the family, noting the parents would often leave and walk to the mall or other area businesses for lengths of time without the child.
The autopsy determined the child’s cause of death to be blunt force injuries to the head, and the manner of death was determined as a homicide.
The child’s mother, Alicia Pacheco appeared in Vigo County Superior Court 6 for a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, Jan. 24. She is scheduled for a jury trial on March 20, 2023, at 1 p.m.
The child’s father, Jalen Byrum appeared in Vigo County Superior Court 6 for a pre-trial hearing Thursday, Jan 26. He is scheduled for a jury trial on March 27, 2023, at 1 p.m.
Both are held on $75,000 bond with no 10% allowed.