A Nashville woman has been charged with felony battery, resulting in the death of her 7-month-old daughter in April.
Anna Prewitt-Byers, 20, was arrested Oct. 17, according to a news release issued by the Indiana State Police late this afternoon.
She has been charged in Monroe Circuit Court with aggravated battery, a Level 1 felony, and battery resulting in death of a person less than 14 years old, a Level 2 felony.
Police say the child was taken to IU Health Bloomington on April 18 with severe injuries that ultimately included massive hemorrhaging, abrasions, brain swelling, severe bleeding in her retina, optic nerve damage, bleeding at the base of her brain and blunt-trauma injury to her chest.
Hospital staff contacted police and the Indiana Department of Child Services.
The child died April 19, but remained on life support at Riley Hospital for Children so her organs could be donated.
State police and DCS investigated the case for six months, resulting in Prewit-Byers’ arrest this week at a home in Nashville. Her address is listed as Highland Drive on Monroe County court documents.
When questioned at the hospital, Prewitt-Byers initially blamed her boyfriend, of Monroe County, for the child’s injuries, according to a probable-cause affidavit. She and the baby had slept at his house before they arrived at the hospital that afternoon, the report said.
Detective Stacy Brown wrote that “Anna showed little emotion and was not crying at all” when he interviewed her about the child’s injuries. When she was told her daughter wouldn’t survive, “Anna began to cry and showed some emotion in the news,” he wrote.
Police searched the home of Michael Witham, the boyfriend, on the day the child was injured and reported finding 7 pounds of marijuana and $120,000 cash. They also found 155 grams of methamphetamine packaged for sale in an air vent, the report said.
Witham was arrested on drug charges.
Prewitt-Byers’ behavior after the initial police interview continued to alert Brown that something was wrong. Brown wrote that she started calling him with questions about how to get her belongings from her boyfriend’s house.
The day her daughter’s organs were to be harvested, she called Brown again to ask if Witham was still in jail, because she had planned to go to Little 500 events with the baby’s father and she wanted to make sure she didn’t run into Witham, the report said.
The child’s father and his family also accused Prewitt-Byers of opening a GoFundMe account to collect donations for her daughter’s funeral, which had already been paid for, the report said.
Prewitt-Byers demanded a polygraph examination and failed it nine days after the baby was admitted to the hospital, the report said.
Witham adamantly denied having anything to do with the baby’s injuries, as Prewitt-Byers had accused him more than once. He told police that he wasn’t “a monster” and that he wouldn’t bring attention to himself and his drug sales by hurting the child in the house, the report said.
Prewitt-Byers pleaded not guilty to the charges in Monroe Circuit Court on Oct. 18. Her bond at the Monroe County Jail was set at $50,000 surety and $500 cash.