Caretaker charged in death of 8-month-old baby

Posted at 11:19 AM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 20:43:19-04

A caretaker has been charged in the death of an 8-month-old baby in Baltimore.

23-year-old Leah Walden was arrested and charged for the death of 8-month-old Reese Bowman.

Police responded to the unit block of South High Street for a report of a baby not breathing at Rocket Tiers Learning Center on Tuesday.

Officers arrived to find medics performing CPR on the baby girl, identified as Reese Bowman. Reese was taken to the University of Maryland Hospital where she died a short time later.

According to police, Walden told investigators she fed the baby, wrapped the baby in a blanket and placed her in a crib for a nap. Walden then returned about 45 minutes later to check on the baby only to find her not breathing. She then alerted co-workers and then called police. 

Police say the daycare was equipped with surveillance cameras and saw Walden abusing Reese during nap time. The daycare then handed the video over to police.

“Reese Bowman in my opinion was tortured,” said Baltimore City Police Chief Stanley Brandford.who describes the video as "disturbing".

“She violently snatched the child out of the crib by one arm several times, swinging at the baby as if she was slapping her and placing pillows over the face,” said Brandford.

Walden was arrested and charged with first and second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault, first and second-degree child abuse and reckless endangerment.

“At this time, a motive is unknown, but it appears that the baby was awake at the time of the assault,” police said in a statement.

According to the Rocket Tiers website, Walden is a Senior Staff Teacher. Walden's bio stating "The best part of being an infant teacher is caring for babies who love me as much as I love them. This has been the most rewarding experience for me!"

Since Walden's arrest, the Rocket Tiers website has been shut down.

Police say this case is still under investigation but they do not plan on charging anyone else from the daycare. According to police, Walden was the only caregiver in the room and was caring for two children at the time. Police say the other child appears to not have been injured.

The Bowman family released a statement:

"Our family is suffering tremendous pain and wishes to grieve in private. Our hearts are broken. No family should ever have to experience the loss of a child under any circumstances. We await further information from the unfolding investigation."


WMAR Staff contributed to this report.