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Saturday, December 19th, 2009

St. Henry woman indicted in baby's death

Tamara Evers reportedly was babysitting infant when he was injured

By Margie Wuebker
A 45-year-old St. Henry woman has been indicted on eight felony counts in the July 6, 2008, death of a 6-month old infant she was babysitting.
Tamara Evers, 502 Northview Drive, faces two counts of murder, three counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of felonious assault and two counts of endangering children. Five of the charges are first-degree felonies while the others are lesser second- and third-degree felonies.
Evers is scheduled to appear in Mercer County Common Pleas Court at 9 a.m. on Dec. 28. This is the second time Evers has been indicted in connection with the baby's death. The first indictment was a charge of giving false testimony during a court hearing.
Trevor Stammen, the son of Brian and Angie Stammen, Fleetfoot Road, St. Henry, reportedly suffered two skull fractures. His death certificate, signed by Kent Edward Harshbarger of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, listed the death as a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Among those testifying before Mercer County grand jurors behind closed doors was Dr. Elizabeth Gillis, a pediatric neurologist on staff at Children's Hospitals and Clinics in St. Paul, Minn.
Last month the grand jury returned one count of perjury against Evers after she allegedly admitted making false statements on Oct. 14, 2008, while testifying during a Mercer County Juvenile Court hearing. That hearing occurred after complaints were filed alleging Trevor's siblings were "dependent" children due to the unknown cause of his death.
The perjury charge was filed after Evers reportedly became emotional during an interview conducted by Mercer County Sheriff's Detective Chris Hamberg and she stated the incident occurred at her home.
Evers indicated she placed the baby on a diaper changing counter in the laundry room and he fell off and struck the floor.
Deputies served Evers with a court summons Friday afternoon as Sheriff Jeff Grey updated Trevor's parents on the latest developments in the case. The sheriff's office was directed to serve the indictment as a summons by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.
An arrest warrant was served after authorities filed the perjury charge. She is currently free on her own recognizance after a family member posted 10 percent of a $100,000 cash bond.
"The indictment is the culmi-
nation of many hours of work by detectives combing over doctor's reports, tracing other evidence and interviewing possible witnesses," Grey said. "This has been a difficult case for all involved."
In January, the sheriff's office and the county prosecutor's office requested assistance from the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Scott Longo, an attorney with expertise in cases involving brain injuries in children, helped with the lengthy investigation.
Longo also recommended using the services of Gillis, who participated in a number of video conferences related to the case.
"Sadly there were many obstacles that seemed to complicate the investigation, but the detectives continued to work through them, educate themselves on the science of the investigation and seek out help and advice from experienced experts in this type of crime," Grey said. "Now it is up to the criminal justice system and the prosecutor's office to move the case forward."
According to sheriff's office reports, Evers called Mercer County 911 at 10:17 a.m. that day regarding an unresponsive infant whose eyes were rolled back. The baby was taken to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and later transferred to Children's Medical Center in Dayton, where he was pronounced dead nearly eight hours later.
Angie Stammen fed the infant around 6:45 a.m. before dropping him and his siblings at the baby sitter's home around 7:30 a.m. He reportedly showed no sign of illness or injury at the time, sheriff's reports indicate.
The filing of multiple counts of murder and involuntary manslaughter is not unusual in a serious case resulting in loss of life as each deals with a different aspect. Frequently prosecutors drop some counts during plea negotiations.
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