(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) — The trial for a mother accused of drowning her 6-month-old baby began Tuesday afternoon after a jury was selected.
Sydney Jones could face 10 to 30 years in prison if the jury finds her guilty of abusing or neglecting a child resulting in death.
On December 7, 2017, a man named Anthony Holmes called 911 from a convenience store on King Hill Avenue. He told the dispatcher that his lady friend had drowned her baby.
On the stand Tuesday, Holmes was called by the state to describe the events of that night. Jones had driven to Kansas City to pick Holmes up earlier that day.
Holmes testified that he agreed to help Jones pack up her apartment in St. Joseph. On the way, they picked up Holmes’ son Zion, 1, and two of Jones children, Kyrie, 2, and 6 months old Keith.
Jones drove the group up to her apartment in St. Joseph two times that day. The first time, they had to turn the car around and go to Kansas City because Jones had forgotten her apartment keys.
Holmes testified that he told Jones that he thought they should just stay the night in Kansas City but she refused.
In response to defense attorney Corryn Hall’s question about Jones’ demeanor that night, Holmes testified he had to grab the wheel from Jones when she had nodded off and veered from the road.
Once they got to her apartment complex, Holmes said Jones turned the car off, reclined her seat back, and closed her eyes. He took Kyrie, Zion, and Keith into the apartment and then came back out to wake up Jones.
Back in the apartment, Jones fed Keith a bottle and then headed to go give him a bath. Meanwhile, Holmes was watching music videos on YouTube in the bedroom.
Holmes told the courtroom that he went to check on Jones and Keith when he noticed the water had been running too long.
This is where the stories go in different directions. Holmes testified during Buchanan County Prosecutor Chad Gaddie’s questioning that Jones was holding her baby under the water.
In response to Gaddie’s questions about how far under the water the baby was, Holmes said Jones’ forearms were beneath the water’s surface.
He then testified that he struggled with Jones for a few seconds to get baby Keith out of the water before successfully pulling him out of his mom’s hands.
After attempting CPR and seeing that baby Keith was not responding, Holmes grabbed his son Zion, took Jones’ car and drove to a nearby convenience store. That is when he called 911.
Six minutes of the call was played for the jurors. In the recording Holmes said, “I don’t know why she did it,” and that his lady friend had drowned her baby.
Several first responders were also called to the stand. Paramedics and St. Joseph Police Officers recalled giving the baby CPR, asking Jones about the night, and what they saw in the apartment.
EMS Paramedic, Craig Hamm said he and his partner attempted to oxygenate the baby while doing chest compressions all the way to the emergency room at Mosaic Life Care.
Officers and first responders testified that the baby showed no signs of breathing on his own at the apartment or in the ambulance.
Police told the courtroom that while first responders were taking baby Keith to the hospital, they were processing the scene.
First responders and crime scene technicians described how they found Jones’ in her bedroom, sitting on her bed, not talking and not crying.
Jones’ defense attorney said in her opening statement that was only half of the story. In her opening remarks said that this was a tragic accident and she asked the jurors to keep an open mind throughout the trial.
During cross-examination, Hall asked the first responders and officers if they had offered Jones medical help and whether her she could have been in shock as opposed to apathy.
Jones was arrested on Dec. 8, 2017, and charged with felony child abuse, or neglect, resulting in the death of a child. She was 27 years old at the time of the arrest.
The trial will continue with day two of testimony Wednesday morning.