Owings Mills baby sitter charged with murder in death of infant girl

August 03, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County grand jury indicted an Owings Mills baby sitter yesterday on charges of first-degree murder, child abuse and reckless endangerment in the death of a 4-month-old girl who died last month of a fractured skull.

The indictment of Thu Thi Xuan Le, 28, of the 300 block of Kendig Drive in Owings Mills occurred one month after the baby was taken to Sinai Hospital with a severe head injury.

Assistant State's Attorney John Cox, who heads the county's child abuse and sex offense division, said the baby suffered a blow to the head and brain damage stemming from severe shaking.

Yesterday, Gill Cochran, lawyer for Le, said the indictment "grossly overcharged" his client. He said the incident was "an accident and nothing intentional."

He said that Le, a recent Vietnamese immigrant, has had to send her three children back to Vietnam while she awaits trial. She is being held without bail in the Baltimore County Women's Detention Center.

He also said that Le was a friend of the parents, who had lived with Le before the baby was born. She was baby-sitting "as a favor to the family," Cochran said.

The baby, Kimdang Thi Le (no relation to the baby sitter), was taken to the hospital after Le called the infant's parents to say the baby was sick.

The parents, Danh Ngoc Thu and Kimdung Thi Le of the 1000 block of Woodkey Lane in Owings Mills took the baby to Sinai Hospital on July 2. She was transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital and died July 7.

Cox said yesterday that Dr. Allen Walker, director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Hopkins, said "it had to be a severe amount of force" to cause the injuries.

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