Crime & Courts

Wichita mother arrested in mysterious death of her 2-year-old son

Wichita family seeks answers in Zayden’s death

The family of Zayden JayNesahkluah want to know how the 2-year-old boy died. Three days before his third birthday, Zayden was found dead at a south Wichita motel where he had been staying with his mother, Kimberly Compass.
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The family of Zayden JayNesahkluah want to know how the 2-year-old boy died. Three days before his third birthday, Zayden was found dead at a south Wichita motel where he had been staying with his mother, Kimberly Compass.

Kimberly Compass, 23, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony murder in the death of her 2-year-old son.

Zayden JayNesahkluah, Compass’s son, was found dead at the Sunset Motel on south Broadway in Wichita on May 31.

The circumstances of his death remain unclear.

Compass was arrested based on information received from the Regional Forensic Science Center, Wichita Police Department spokesman Charley Davidson said in a news release Thursday. Sedgwick County jail booking information says she was booked at 11:50 a.m.

Zayden’s cause of death was initially unknown and wasn’t immediately determined to be a homicide. His death wasn’t reported as suspicious until a week after his death.

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Wichita police and the Kansas Department for Children and Families were waiting for the toxicology results from Zayden’s autopsy to determine if it was a homicide.

At a celebration of Zayden’s life at Watson Park in June, which Compass did not attend, friends and family said they were reserving judgment until the autopsy report came back.

Caleb “Bear” JayNesahkluah, Zayden’s father, said he wanted to see someone held accountable. He and Compass were no longer romantically involved and did not live together at the time of Zayden’s death.

“If it came back that it was by fault of someone, I also want that person held accountable, no matter who it was,” he told the Eagle in June.

“It’s really hard,” he said. “I just know that no matter how it happened, it’s wrong. If it could have been prevented in any way, shape or form, I want to know why it wasn’t.”

Shelby Curry, Compass’s cousin, and Quentin Curry raised Zayden for about a year of his life. She called the arrest “a relief.”

“I’m very relieved that they made an arrest, and I’m glad they got her in custody now. That is a big relief. But I will be fully relieved when they convict her,” she said.

In the days between Zayden’s death and his funeral, Compass was with Curry every day, Curry said. The way she acted during that time raised red flags.

“She was worried about ‘Oh, what’s going to happen to me?’

“She literally didn’t care that Zayden was dead at all,” Curry said. “And that’s what got me the most. It’s like you just lost him and that’s all you’re worried about right now?”

Compass denied any wrongdoing last month in a Facebook message to an Eagle reporter.

She said she believed Zayden’s death was the result of a medical condition. He had been hospitalized weeks before he died after he had a seizure, she said.

“They kept us a weekend (and) released us and thought things were normal, but I am questioning it because I know as a mother I didn’t neglect my son and never would,” she wrote on July 8.

Kansas’ child welfare agency has not commented on its level of involvement with Zayden. Compass confirmed that DCF had received reports about Zayden’s welfare.

“All DCF reports I have are here at my home we’re (sic) investigated by multiple people and closed for being unsubstantiated,” she wrote in July.

Zayden is at least the ninth child age 5 or younger to die in the Wichita area under suspicious circumstances since 2017.

kimberly compass mug
Kimberly Compass, 23, was arrested Aug. 18, 2019, on suspicion of felony murder in the death of her 2-year-old son, Zayden JayNesehkluah. Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

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