Babysitter who returned dead infant to mother while 'pretending' child was asleep is charged with murder: authorities

A Wisconsin babysitter who returned a deceased infant to his mother while allegedly pretending the two-month-old was sleeping has been charged with murder.

Marissa Tietsort, 28, was charged on Friday with first-degree intentional homicide in the baby's 2018 death, according to the Wausau Daily Herald.

The child's mother, whose identity has not been released, allegedly dropped off the two-month-old victim and his older brother off at Tietsort's home in Wausau, Wisc., in the afternoon on Oct. 18.

While the children were in Tietsort's care, she sent their mother a text stating that a local news outlet had just published a story about her revealing she had been charged with child abuse stemming from an unrelated incident, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Wausau Daily Herald.

Tietsort warned the mother not to tell anyone she was watching her children, as she was not allowed to be in contact with minors. When the victim's mother went to pick up her children around 9 p.m., three hours after the text exchange, Tietsort gave her the infant back buckled in his car seat, wearing a snowsuit with a winter hat pulled down over his eyes, according to the criminal complaint.

Believing the infant was asleep, the mother took her two children to a nearby laundromat where she discovered that the two-month-old wasn't breathing, was cold to the touch and had a bluish skin tone and stiff limbs. She immediately began performing CPR on the deceased child while her sister called 911, according to the complaint.

When police located Tietsort at a nearby hotel at 4:15 a.m. the next day, she allegedly admitted she was aware that the infant had died under her care and said she did not attempt to resuscitate him or check for a pulse.

Tietsort told investigators that after she realized the baby had died, she dressed him in his outerwear, covered him with blankets and strapped him in his car seat. The criminal complaint states that when Tietsort's boyfriend returned home around 6:30 p.m., she did not tell him the infant had died. Tietsort and her boyfriend then went to eat at McDonald's, bringing with them the victim's body, strapped in his car seat, and his brother. 

The suspect also allegedly admitted she "purposefully put a hat over the [baby’s] eyes so that the… mother would not realize her son was dead" when she came to pick him up.

An autopsy of the baby later revealed that he died of "blunt force head injuries with multiple impacts to the head."

The victim sustained at least three separate injuries to his head shortly before his death and had significant injuries to his tailbone, which was "fractured, broken off and displaced," according to forensic pathologist Robert Corliss. Corliss said the severity of the infant's injuries indicated that a "significant amount of force was used" against him.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports that Tietsort had previously been involved in at least three separate child abuse cases. In August 2018, an 11-month-old girl sustained facial injuries while under the care of the suspect. Although Tietsort told the victim's father that the child had fallen off a couch while sleeping, doctors told the victim's parents their daughter's wounds were not consistent with such a fall. Tietsort was arrested in October and charged with child abuse charge over the incident.

In 2017, an infant Tietsort was babysitting ended up in the hospital suffering a fractured skull and a bruised face. Tietsort claimed the infant's older sister caused the injury and the babysitter was never charged.

In 2010, Tietsort's boyfriend filed for temporary restraining orders after alleging the suspect had abused two of their sons.

Tietsort, now pregnant with her sixth child, is currently being held on a $500,000 bond and is due back in court on Jan. 18.

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