Janesville73.5°

Woman faces charges in death of baby boy

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Mike DuPre'
January 8, 2008
— The girlfriend of a man charged with child neglect resulting in the death of his year-old son has been similarly charged.

April S. Peabody, 26, of 171 Linn St., Janesville, was charged Monday with child neglect resulting in death and obstructing in connection with the Dec. 8 death of Israel Gordon in her home.


Initially, the boy’s father—Charles R. Rivers, 34, same address—was charged with child neglect resulting in death and obstructing, and Peabody was arrested only on an initial charge of obstructing.


Peabody is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the charges Jan. 29. She is free on a $2,500 signature bond, and Rivers remains in custody at the Rock County Jail in lieu of a $5,500 cash bond.


Israel Gordon’s injury apparently occurred late in the morning of Dec. 8, and neither Rivers nor Peabody called 911 for emergency medical treatment until almost 9 p.m.


Rigor mortis was evident when an emergency medical technician tried to treat the toddler, and the technician thought the child already was dead, according to the criminal complaints against the couple.


In the late afternoon or early evening, Rivers and Peabody took Israel Gordon and a daughter of Peabody’s along with them as they went to Beloit to buy heroin or some other drug to feed Rivers’ habit, the criminal complaint alleges.


After repeated questioning by Janesville detectives, Rivers eventually told them that he was bathing Gordon as the baby stood on the side of the tub and that he let go of him to reach for something.


The baby slipped and “went face first into the corner of the tub, striking it very hard,” according to the complaints.


The pathologist who performed the autopsy on Gordon said “he felt it would have been readily apparent to any attentive childcare-giver that the child was badly injured and in severe distress,” according to the complaint.



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