Mineral Point mother, daughter will go to trial in death of 13-year-old girl

An Iowa County judge said Tuesday there is enough probable cause to try Laurie and Alexis Barry for the death of 13-year-old Selah Kaden.

The 50-year-old mother and 28-year-old daughter are both charged with party to first-degree reckless homicide.

Kaden died on May 31, 2018, while she was being cared for by the Barrys. Kaden’s parents, who live in North Carolina, sent her to live in Mineral Point with the Barrys when she started acting out and her behavior was affecting the rest of the family.

The Kadens and Barrys had previously become close when the two families lived in Madison.

During the preliminary hearing, detectives were questioned on what EMTs, doctors and the Barrys said the night of Kaden’s death.

Iowa County Sheriff’s Office Detective Brian Fitzsimons said an EMT “described that she had a hard time getting an air way in, that Selah’s teeth or jaw was somewhat clenched, and that her caregivers seemed suspicious and were not overly concerned with the victim’s condition.”

Doctors told detectives that they believed Kaden had died hours before the Barrys called 911.

After hearing from 2 @IowaWi detectives and a forensic pathologist, a judge has decided Laurie Barry & her daughter Alexis will go to trial for the death of 13-year-old Selah Kaden. #news3now pic.twitter.com/fxiv6Ak32n

— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) October 8, 2019

Laurie and Alexis Barry told detectives that Kaden’s behavior worsened once she arrived at their home on April 24, and especially the week before her death.

Detective Lana Bowers said they told her this involved “some physical self harm, small falling, bruising herself, and those would escalate into more physical of throwing herself down.”

The Barrys said that on the morning of May 31, Kaden was threatening to urinate in the living room, so Laurie Barry picked her up to move her and she fell.

“She kind of did a motion or lost her footing and fell backwards and hit her head very hard on the floor, or possibly a bookcase,” said Bowers.

The Barrys told Bowers about 10 minutes later Kaden fell again, but this time on purpose. She stayed on the floor and was unresponsive.

The Barrys believed she was faking it so they left her there and kept checking on her every few minutes.

It wasn’t until Jesse Barry, Laurie’s husband, got home that they called 911.

“There’s patterned injury to Selah suggesting a tool or weapon,” said Dr. Michael Stier, a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy.

He found that Kaden’s cause of death was suffocation and blunt force patterned beating.

“The distribution of the legions and multiplicity, I mean they’re all over, front and back, head and face, arms and legs, with a pattern. I can not imagine a scenario in which this child was willing to sustain such a beating without being restrained,” said Stier.

Stier said there were about 70 injuries on the girl’s body and he believes they were caused in a few hours.

“Time — that’s one of the reasons I use, for the first time in my profession, the word torture. Because this child was suffering,” said Stier.

When asked about the injuries and bruises on Kaden’s body, the Barrys told Bowers they believe the injuries on her elbows and legs were from fake falling, but “the only ones that they could not really explain or they stated they didn’t even know about were the injuries along the chest area, sides of the chest, rib cage area.”

The Barrys attorney brought up Kaden’s interest in donkeys on the property and thought the animals might be another explanation for her injuries.

Stier does not believe falling or an animal could be the cause of Kaden’s injuries.

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