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Babysitter submits guilty plea

November 27, 2018—An Independence babysitter with ties to Excelsior Springs pleaded guilty to one felony count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Christian Y. Johnston

Christian Y. Johnston

At a Pre-Trial Conference Hearing held Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Independence Criminal/Traffic courtroom of Judge Kenneth Garrett III, Christian Y. Johnston pleaded guilty to Class D Felony count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child Creating Substantial Risk in the 1st Degree.

The Probable Cause Statement filed by an Independence Police Department detective stated while in the care of Johnston, a 2-year-old child burned their hands in a bowl of Ramen noodles. The incident occurred May 7, 2017, at Johnston’s residence.

According to the statement, authorities dispatched to Children’s Mercy Hospital on a case of possible child abuse when the child’s mother sought treatment for the burns the child sustained.

Johnston told the mother at the time of the incident and notified her with a text message and photos of the injuries. Johnston told the mother the child received the burns while reaching for the bowl.

When the mother picked up the child from care two days later, “the victim had a sock on each hand and the socks were protecting the injuries. Upon arriving home, the victim’s mother attempted to remove the socks and change bandages but the victim screamed as if [they were] in pain.”

Since the child’s mother could not remove the socks, the child was taken to the hospital and transferred to CMH where a doctor, “assessed the injuries as Child Physical Abuse/Neglect. [They] further reported that the victim had burns consistent with hot water immersion … [their] findings were not consistent with a flow burn from hot water/Ramen noodles.”

In an interview with detectives at her residence on May 11, 2017, Johnston “explained the victim spilled a bowl that contained three recently cooked packages of Ramen noodles. The noodles were removed from the microwave after being cooked for six minutes.”

Johnston said she placed the bowl of noodles on the kitchen table in the dining room, and while she was in the kitchen, the victim must have reached into the bowl causing the bowl to tip and spill on the floor.

In an investigation of the dining room, detectives found “the dirt on the floor and rug indicated that the floor had not been cleaned in a very long time.”

Police officials arrested Johnston on outstanding warrants and transported her to the Independence Police Department.

Later that same day during a formal interview with detectives, “Johnston admitted to intentionally misleading the victim’s mother regarding the extent of the injuries and lied about a doctor giving care.” Johnston also admitted if the injuries had occurred to her own children, she would have taken them to the emergency room.

According to the Probable Cause Statement, Johnston also said she lied to detectives during her initial interview, saying that the injuries to the child occurred on May 6 and she failed to tell the child’s mother until May 8, 2017. Johnston submitted her phone to detectives who discovered a photo taken on May 6 which first documented the injuries the child sustained.

Officials scheduled a sentencing hearing for Jan. 24, 2019 in the Division 2 Criminal Courtroom. At sentencing, Johnston could face a term between two and seven years in Missouri Department of Corrections, or imprisonment for a special term not to exceed one year in the county jail, or by a fine not to exceed $10,000, or by both imprisonment and fine.

By Standard Staff • StandardStaff@leaderpress.com

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