Feb. 16, 2022

Statement from Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker

The community now knows some of the terrible details of the death of this 6-year-old child. It takes our breath away. My office, as it always has, pledges to do everything in its power to bring justice in this young boy’s murder. We will not shrink from our responsibility.

It’s difficult to imagine the grief for this boy’s family. For the child’s classmates. His friends. Neighbors. The first responders who went to this crime scene.

I expect it leaves us not knowing what to do. We might look at our loved ones today and give some thanks to God or even say a prayer. Thank you, my child is safe today. But we want everyone’s children to be safe.

We’ve announced today that the child’s mother is charged with Murder in the First Degree of her 6-year-old son and Armed Criminal Action.* She is being held in the Jackson County Detention Center and her bond request was “no bond.”

It can’t stop there.

This child’s death is a call for something more. Our community must heed the call. Law enforcement, prosecutors, public health officials, social service providers, all of our many partners must work together to address the violence. Strong collaborations are needed to lean into this difficult challenge, and better protect our community’s most vulnerable population, our kids.

Regarding this case, we will review our systems and responses to examine more deeply if any opportunities for intervention were missed. But I should stress that we don’t know of any failed processes, and we acknowledge that one may not exist. This type of review, though, could produce a valuable lesson from this horrible event, something that might prevent future harm.

Let’s also focus, Kansas City, on the violence among us. It’s a challenge we can no longer ignore. We cannot become complacent with 180 or 170 or even 150 homicides per year and hundreds more shot but not killed. We’ve seen the horror that can occur when we don’t work together to help our community members avoid a future of violence.   

Going forward let’s keep a clear goal: Reduce our community’s violence and alert mental health professionals whenever we are aware of someone in need of intervention.

Missouri Crisis line: 1-888-279-8188. Also check www.mentalhealthkc.org and www.SistersInChristKC.org.