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Complaint: Women facing charges one year after girl dies of suffocation, patterned beating

Complaint: Women facing charges one year after girl dies of suffocation, patterned beating
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Complaint: Women facing charges one year after girl dies of suffocation, patterned beating

MINERAL POINT, Wis. - Both Laurie Barry, 50, and her daughter Alexis Barry, 27, are being charged with first-degree reckless homicide as a party to a crime for the May 31, 2018, death of 13-year-old Selah Kaden.

A criminal complaint reveals a forensic pathologist determined Selah died from homicidal smothering/suffocation and blunt force patterned beating. He believes more than one perpetrator was likely involved in causing her death, and that she was dead before it was reported to authorities.

Laurie and Alexis Barry each face a maximum of 60 years in prison, if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, David and Lisa Kaden, Selah’s adoptive parents, currently live in North Carolina. They moved there from Madison in 2011, after meeting and becoming close friends with Laurie and Jesse Barry.

In June 2014, Selah began counseling in North Carolina for behavioral and emotional problems. She also received formal psychiatric care, including medication management. Her parents told police these problems stemmed from lacking proper nutrition and being neglected before she was adopted.

The Barry family had provided respite care and housing for one of the Kadens’ older children for 10 months in 2014, so when Selah’s behavior worsened and she required longer-term care, the Kadens turned to the Barrys again.

The Barrys agreed to take Selah for the summer, starting in April 2018, and David Kaden offered to pay them $1,000 for each month they cared for her.

Selah shared a bedroom with Alexis Barry and another of the Barrys' daughters.

Laurie Barry told investigators that Selah would steal things, lie, throw herself on the ground and fake fainting episodes.  She said Selah was spanked on the butt three times with a spoon, but there was no other physical discipline.

Alexis Barry said Selah’s behaviors worsened, and she saw her fake fainting “in which she would fall backwards and look to see if anyone was watching,” according to the criminal complaint.

Laurie Barry said May 30, the day before she was pronounced dead, Selah had constant fainting spells and yelling fits.

Alexis told police that on the morning of the 31st Selah fell backward and hit her head hard on the floor, but she stood right back up and was responsive. She said Selah went down again around noon.

Both Laurie and Alexis said she was breathing, and was checked on continually, but when Jesse Barry got home, he listened to her chest and called 911. He told the operator that it was not uncommon for her to fake being unconscious for long periods of time, according to the criminal complaint.

She was pronounced dead at 5:25 p.m.

An emergency room doctor told investigators he believed Selah had been dead for at least a few hours and an EMT said the Barrys’ reactions were suspicious because they “did not show much urgency or concern for what was happening with the patient.”

Through an autopsy, it was revealed that Selah had “acute and mixed blunt head trauma, including multifocal scalp contusions along with facial contusions and abrasions, but no brain trauma or hemorrhage.”

She also had “pattern injury to the upper chest, consistent with a blackjack or similar device,” along with extensive limb trauma, abrasions to the buttocks that were inconsistent with falling and possible restraint marks on both wrists. 

Brian Brophy, the attorney for Laurie and Alexis Barry, said his clients are devastated by the charges and people shouldn't take the information in the criminal complaint as fact. 

"When you say that the autopsy shows something, no, somebody's opinion shows something. And it remains to be seen whether that opinion is even borderline valid," said Brophy. 

He believes this will be a tough case for the prosecutor. 

"This is a hard case, and this is a really, really sad case. There is nobody in this world that is more beat up, broken down and sad about Selah's death than Alexis and Laurie Barry," said Brophy. "Whether or not it's (a case) that justifies criminal charges or necessitates criminal charges because society is looking for someone to blame, that remains to be seen." 

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