Couple charged in death of infant make first court appearance
The parents of a baby boy found dead at a Wichita motel last week were charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of child endangerment.
The 2-month-old’s father, Kyle Kempton, and his mother, Christy Rollings, were both charged with involuntary manslaughter and four misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. The misdemeanor charges accuse the couple of endangering their twin boys on Aug. 28 and Aug. 30.
The parents’ bonds were set at $150,000 each.
Judge Eric Williams declined to change Kempton’s bond after Kempton said he didn’t want to “sit in jail” and should instead be able to work.
Both parents will have court-appointed attorneys and are due back in court Sept. 20.
The court documents used to charged the parents identify the twin who died as Patrick Kempton.
At around 6 a.m. on Thursday, one of the couple’s 2-month-old twins was reportedly found dead in a motel bed with his father, according to a police report. The other boy was then placed in police protective custody and taken to the Wichita Children’s Home.
Kempton, 34, and Rollings, 39, were arrested and booked into Sedgwick County Jail.
The family had been living for a week at the Scotsman Inn, near West Kellogg and Dugan, police said.
Two days before the child was found dead, police went to check on the children at the motel. The parents were intoxicated, police said. Police determined that the children should be removed from the parents, Officer Charley Davidson said. Police gave the twins to a “responsible family member” that afternoon, he said.
Police made a child neglect case on that incident, Davidson said.
Wichita police faxed information about the initial child endangerment case to Department for Children and Families on Tuesday evening, then followed up early Wednesday morning to make sure the agency got the fax, Davidson said. The state agency helps to investigate child abuse, assesses whether children are safe and provides services to families.
On Wednesday, the relative returned the children to the parents, Davidson said.
On Friday, the DCF told The Eagle that Wichita police should have considered taking the 2-month-old twins into protective custody after the first incident.
In the Wichita area, when police put children into protective custody, it often means taking them initially to the Wichita Children’s Home. From there, they can go to a foster home or relative while the child protection system determines an eventual placement.
When police notified the state agency of the first endangerment case by fax Tuesday evening and again Wednesday morning, police didn’t flag it as a priority for the agency to investigate, said Taylor Forrest, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
In a statement responding to the DCF comments, the police spokesman said that during the initial call Tuesday, “the children appeared to be in good physical condition, cared for and fed. Also, there was no reported physical abuse.”
Kempton was a licensed chiropractor in Wichita from July 2016 to Jan. 31 of this year. According to state records, his license was canceled on Feb. 1 after he failed to renew. His professional website indicates a specialty in chiropractic care for pregnant women and children.
Rollings wrote in a court document that she was working at a South Seneca cafe.
A friend of Rollings told The Eagle that Rollings told him that she and Kempton met in inpatient care for substance abuse.