West Virginia Mother Suffering from Postpartum Depression Squeezes Life Out of 16-Day-Old Baby

Brooke Kessler
Brooke Kessler Twitter

A West Virginia mother was charged on Monday, June 24, with killing her 16-day-old daughter, who died of multiple injuries.

Brooke Kessler, 32, of Hurricane is charged with death of a child by parent or guardian, as reported by local news outlet WCHS.

Child had 'Multiple, Serious Injuries,' Hospital Staff Reported it to Sheriff's Office as Injuries were Inconsistent with Accident

According to authorities, the girl had "multiple, serious injuries" that medical staff at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital said were suspicious and not an accident. The infant was brought to the hospital on Thursday from Charles Court in Hurricane, troopers said.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court, troopers said when they arrived at the hospital, they observed bruising around her throat and on the back of her head, as well as bruising on her left eye, a swollen right arm that was broken. Doctors also said the infant had six broken ribs.

Kessler Told Deputies She Squeezed Baby Too Hard Because She was Irritated

While interviewing Kessler, deputies said Kessler told them she put her hand around the baby's neck and on the back of her head when she was burping her because she was "irritated with the baby and herself and probably squeezed too hard causing those injuries."

"Ms. Kessler stated she did not intend to squeeze that hard," Fisher wrote in the criminal complaint. "Ms. Kessler also stated that the ribs may have broken when she picked the baby up by the chest to burp her and she was irritated and squeezed the baby too hard, possibly breaking the ribs."

Kessler told troopers she did not feel any ribs break and did not break the baby's arm. She suggested her husband may have done that when picking the baby up.

Kessler's Husband Said She was Aggressive with the Baby Because She was Suffering from Postpartum Depression

In an interview with Kessler's husband, troopers said he told them that his wife had been struggling with postpartum depression and had been aggressive with the infant.

"Mr. Kessler stated that he has had to stop her a few times from shaking the baby and that he would take the baby from her and have her cool off," Fisher said. "This officer asked Mr. Kessler about the accusations of breaking his baby's arm by picking her up, to which he replied he would pick her up and let her bounce on his chest, but he was never aggressive with her."

The child's paternal grandmother was also interviewed as part of the investigation. She told troopers that her son had been texting her for help since the baby's birth because Kessler was suffering from postpartum depression and was not caring for the child or changing the child's diapers. The grandmother said she cared for the infant from June 9 to June 14.

Kessler was initially charged with child abuse causing serious bodily injury, strangulation and malicious assault. On Sunday, the infant was taken off life support at the hospital. Kessler's charges were upgraded Monday morning. She is currently in custody at the Western Regional Jail.