The 13-month-old girl was, in the opinion that doctors, starved come death. She weighed simply 7 pounds — about a pound lighter than as soon as she to be born. Youngsters her period usually weigh about 20 pounds.
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one autopsy by the Palm coast County medical Examiner cited not just the emaciated children “extreme developmental delay,” but likewise severe infections and also pneumonia.
that stood in stark comparison to the portrait presented by Tayla’s parents, who have been the focus of one evolving criminal court instance for over four years. Prosecutors recently acquired the mom, Kristen Meyer, 47, to take a plea deal requiring she to testify against the dad.
Now, the former stay-at-home mother will it is in the star witness versus her husband, Alejandro “Alex” Aleman, and tell a jury about what led to Tayla’s sad demise. The girl’s dad faces a potential fatality penalty conviction.
Kristen Meyer, the woman charged with first-degree murder in the starvation death of she 13-month-old daughter, Tayla Aleman, sit in court for a pre-trial hearing Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (Lannis Waters/The Palm beach Post)
Meyer on Oct. 26 to reduce what had been an insanity defense and pleaded guilty come aggravated manslaughter that child.
Circuit judge Cheryl Caracuzzo then implemented a prison term the 23 year to be adhered to by seven years that probation. Meyer acquired credit because that the last four years she’s been locked up in Palm beach County Jail.
The covenant hinges on Meyer help the state obtain first-degree murder and aggravated kid abuse charges against her husband. Prosecutors say Aleman, 42, deliberately eliminated his daughter, and they want to check out him executed because that it.
Aleman’s lawyer, Michael Salnick, states that’s a large reach considering his client was the one out working to support the family.
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“It’s an extremely clear the no matter what taken place in this case, and also no issue whose building and construction of the instance you look at at, there was nothing knowingly here,” that told the southern Florida sun Sentinel. “I don’t watch this together a death penalty case.”
“There is no evidence that Ms. Meyer intentionally withheld sustenance indigenous Tayla for any kind of purpose ... No one is there evidence that Ms. Meyer had a motive to death Tayla or stand to acquire from Tayla’s death,” composed Public Defender Carey Haughwout. “To the contrary, all the proof ... Unequivocally demonstrates the Tayla’s death was the an outcome of neglect.”
Court records, including proof reports exit by prosecutors, provide a horrific photo of the Aleman home. The files assist explain why Tayla died and also show authorities to let go at the very least one possibility to save her months before her heart stopped.
on the night Tayla died, top top April 1, 2016, Meyer told a detective she girl was a “perfectly healthy baby” until she suddenly stopped breathing in her arms.
before the tragedy, the pair were increasing 10 children in a rented, one-story residence in Loxahatchee, just north that Lion country Safari.
In the hrs after Tayla’s death, Meyer and Aleman stood together in the parking lot exterior Palms West Hospital. Castle made it clear the investigators would certainly not be enabled inside their house without a search warrant.
at 6 the following morning, the reasons for the couple’s reluctance became clear come the detectives based upon what castle smelled and observed.
It was a sewer plant and also a rubbish dump under one roof. “The home reeked so negative one have the right to smell the urine and also feces indigenous the far finish of the driveway resulting in the house,” Palm coast County Sheriff’s Detective Vionide Saint-Jean composed in his monitorings from the crime scene. “Once inside the residence there were flies, gnats and what showed up to may have actually been fleas swarming the house.”
This is a photograph of the Aleman residence after the arrest that Alejandro Aleman and also Kristen Meyer in the April 1, 2016, death of their daughter. (Image by WPEC-Ch. 12)
At the moment of the search, the department of Children and Families brought a van to take it custody the Tayla’s enlarge sister and also eight brothers, ages 2 come 14, over the resistance of their parents. A starving dog also was removed.
“I observed the kids had what appeared to it is in either bug bites everywhere their four or some kind of rash,” Detective James Suarez composed in a report. “They were every in a an extremely deep sleep as if lock were totally exhausted.”
contrary to the mom’s assertions that Tayla had consistent feedings, an list of the house lists one baby bottle and a half-filled container the formula powder. Tayla apparently had actually slept close to her parental in a “dirty playpen that appeared to convert into a basinet.”
The kitchen had actually two refrigerators, but one to be empty. The other included “a half-gallon that milk, one more gallon of part unknown chunky liquid that showed up to be expired and also rotten. There were very minimal edible items because that the youngsters to eat.”
Investigators stated the bulldog, named Achilles, was found in a rusted crate the was filled v the pet’s waste. A report from county animal inspectors claimed the dog’s hip and ribs to be visible, together with pressure sores, overgrown nails, and also fur stained yellow and brown.
Tayla to be a healthy newborn, beginning the people on in march 7, 2015, in ~ 8 pounds 15 ounces in a Martin county hospital’s maternity suite, records show.
The household moved come the Loxahatchee home three months later. DCF started getting complaints, from neighbors, that the house on 30th roadway looked dirty and the kids had “inadequate supervision.”
“Mr. Aleman to be upset and he told her he was exhausted of civilization calling DCF on him and also he wanted her to obtain a warrant in bespeak to offer her accessibility into his home,” a report stated.
faced with a court bespeak in December, Aleman invite the reviewers inside and blamed the former run-in together a “miscommunication.”
much less than four months before Tayla’s death, the inspector said the house was “spotless,” going together far regarding call the place “a design house” without a whiff of bad air. Most important, “The children appeared clean, through no marks or bruises.”
“The baby was a skinny 7-month-old baby yet not skinny to the suggest where the baby showed up as if she was no being fed,” the inspector concluded.
yet there was one issue — the youngsters had problem speaking: “They all made grunting noises and weird sounds when they would certainly respond to your questions.”
Meyer then said she didn’t have actually concerns around their speech, explaining that “because she is from Chicago … she speaks very fast and that is where the kids get the from.”
five days after Tayla died, the authorities make the efforts to acquire answers from her siblings. Only the three oldest kids could to express themselves. DCF’s Child security Team confirmed that the youngsters had knowledgeable “medical neglect, dental neglect, education neglect, emotional neglect and environmental endangerment.”
The agency, calling the a “senseless and also avoidable” death, recognized having call with the family members at least 4 times from 2013 to 2015, and admitted assessors missed chances to intervene.
“In an answer to this case, we applied mandatory additional training because that all kid protective investigators and supervisors in the region,” then-DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a 2016 statement. Supervisors additionally were given an ext power to action in and also assist kids perceived to it is in in danger.
In laying the end seven factors for seeking the death penalty, Assistant State lawyer Terri Skiles wrote that Tayla’s killing to be “heinous, atrocious or cruel,” and the victim was “particularly vulnerable” due to the fact that Aleman was she dad. The prosecutor likewise accused Aleman of having “knowingly created a great risk of fatality to plenty of persons.”
Alejandro Aleman appears in court in ~ the Palm coast County Courthouse in West Palm beach on June 28, 2019. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm beach Post)
A dispatcher walked Meyer through CPR instructions, till paramedics arrived and took the toddler without a pulse come a surrounding ER.
A fire-rescue report claims that Tayla’s ribs to be visible through her skin, and she showed up malnourished sufficient for the paramedics to ask the mother if the child had cancer or one more disease.
Meyer-Aleman claimed one minute Tayla "was fine and also suddenly she simply stopped breath while in her arms and now she is dead,” Saint-Jean wrote about his interview v the mommy that night. The examination took around six months, together detectives waited for a final autopsy report and also other records prior to arresting the parents.
and also then another revelation: She claimed she had actually recently offered birth to one more baby — she was pregnant as soon as Tayla died.
about Tayla gift so underweight, Meyer stated she no aware around it. “I knew she was small, but as the mommy of 10 children, and also now 11 ... I never had actually a problem feeding she ... She never not wanted the bottle ... In my mind I never ever thought ns was doing anything wrong.”
when Aleman’s defense currently plans to point the finger in ~ Meyer, the was free of her throughout his jail interview. He called her a good mother that was “always there because that the kids.”
Aleman repeatedly insisted that Tayla to be eating plenty, however admitted never ever holding the baby. “There’s no legislation that I have to hold mine daughter,” he said.
then a detective shooting back: “No, that a legislation that you need to make sure she’s eating and also to check in on her and look. And when you view that she’s no looking right and also you check out that she not obtaining weight, that is your responsibility and also obligation come take her to the doctor.”
Salnick, the attorney for Aleman, states he’ll shot to store Aleman’s statements indigenous the jury, and also the detectives" “gratuitous comments.”
He decreased to speculate whether his instance — tracking towards a feasible trial in the feather — faces a an ext uphill fight now that Meyer is in the prosecution’s pocket.
yet Salnick stated the defense could try to limit Meyer’s testimony versus him, based upon a typical law standard referred to as “spousal privilege.” This might make exclusive communications between the 2 off limits.
Kristen Meyer Aleman is escorted indigenous court after ~ a hearing in ~ the Palm coast County Courthouse in West Palm beach on June 28. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm coast Post)
Aleman already lost an effort to save a 3rd charge, a misdemeanor animal cruelty count, the end of the trial. He suggested that the comb are already high enough prior to taking the threat that the alleged inhumane treatment of the dog would further alarm jurors.
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“If two kids had died from lack of appropriate care, the cases would as necessary be tried together,” she wrote. “The Court sees no distinction that an pet who may have suffered indigenous the same lack of nourishment and also survived to be legally different.”
Salnick said he’s expecting to soon sign up with a prosecutor for a deposition the Meyer, wherein she will be forced to talk about Tayla’s death and the circumstances bordering it.
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“There is no concern that the baby was taken care of at every times through Kristen Meyer,” Salnick said. “Kristen was responsible for the child.”
as soon as Meyer leaves prison, in less than 19 years, she will certainly be forced to enroll in a “child breakthrough and rearing class,” according to she probation terms. She likewise will be forbidden from functioning in a college or having any job that involves supervising children.