Ten Ways They Got It Wrong
In pursuing a murder case against Krystal Voss for the death of her son, Kyran, the prosecutor and police in Alamosa may have disregarded critical evidence and developed a theory of the crime that is medically impossible. Among the most glaring problems:
1. The autopsy report. Voss admitted shaking her son in bed the night before his injuries were reported. However, the medical examiner found that Kyran died from being "struck by a blunt object or hurled against a blunt object," not from shaking. Shaken Baby Syndrome is a controversial diagnosis in the medical community.
2. The alibi witnesses. Damien and Steven Gaston, Kyran's father and grandfather, both say the child seemed normal several hours after Voss supposedly shook him nearly to death. Yet pathologists say the symptoms of his severe brain injury would have been immediate and alarming.
3. The bruises. Investigator Harry Alejo expressed his belief that Kyran had been abused before, based on the bruises observed on the child's body at Children's Hospital. But most bruises can't be accurately dated without specific, reliable information from witnesses about when the bruises were present or absent; Kyran's bruises could have occurred at the same time as the head injury.
4. The changing story. Patrick Ramirez, the babysitter who was watching Kyran the day the injuries were reported, first claimed to have accidentally hurt the child, then said Kyran was already unconscious when he arrived. Yet his second story offers no more plausible explanation for Kyran's injuries than the first one; it's unlikely Kyran could have survived several hours without emergency care.
5. The crime scene. Evidence discovered at the Voss house, including feces splattered in the bathroom, where Ramirez says he attempted to revive Kyran, appears to be at odds with Ramirez's final account of his actions.
6. The phone call at work. A witness heard Voss's response to the phone call she received from Ramirez, informing her that Kyran was injured. The witness's account supports Voss's version of the brief conversation.
7. The apologies. Supposedly, Voss and Ramirez conspired to cover up her brutal treatment of her son. If so, their superb playacting extended to numerous apologies Ramirez made to Voss for hurting Kyran -- including apologies offered during the course of phone calls that he couldn't have known were being overheard by other family members.
8. The statement. The strongest evidence against Voss may be the statement she provided Alejo after four days of watching over her son at the hospital. But that statement doesn't account for the head injury Kyran suffered. Given the conditions under which it was obtained -- Alejo didn't read Voss her rights or tape the interview, which Voss describes as an aggressive interrogation -- its admissibility in court may be challenged.
9. An incomplete investigation. Six months after the injury and four months after Kyran's death, several witnesses, including caregivers and family members who had considerable contact with the child, say they've never been interviewed by the police.
10. Credibility issues. Voss has no prior criminal record, and the investigation turned up no physical evidence that she'd ever abused Kyran before. Ramirez has several minor convictions, ranging from assault cases he picked up in his youth to a disturbing-the-peace incident at Children's Hospital two years ago. His account of what happened to Kyran changed dramatically over the first six days of the investigation.
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