Three more indicted in child death case.

James Parker and Jennifer Short

The story just keeps getting worse. I reported a while back on the child abuse case involving Ofc. James Parker of the Avon Park Police Department. At the time Parker had been charged with aggravated child abuse. Since that time the child, Kaedyn Short, died as a result of her injuries.

A grand jury returned an indictment against Parker for first degree murder along with indictments implicating 3 others including the child’s mother. The following is an article from the Highlands Today (a local newspaper):

Three more indicted in child death case
Mother and day care workers charged along with Parker

Brad Dickerson
Published: June 25, 2009
Updated: 06/25/2009 04:48 pm

SEBRING - The death of 22-month-old Kaedyn Short has now led to charges against the child's mother and two day care workers.

Jenifer Sue Short, 28, of Sebring, was indicted by a Highlands County grand jury Wednesday for felony counts of failure to report child abuse and neglect of a child causing great bodily harm.

The indictment accuses Short of failing to provide the "care, supervision and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health," as well as living in a home with a child "who was known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse," between March 1, 2008 and March 28, 2009.

Sara J. Vasquez, 25, of Zolfo Springs, and Linda L. Payne, 39, also of Sebring, were both indicted for misdemeanor failure to report child abuse. The two worked at the day care Kaedyn Short attended, according to the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.

The indictment accuses Payne and Vasquez of failing to report suspected abuse between Dec. 1, 2007 and Oct. 31, 2008.

Florida statute requires that individuals in certain professions, such as teachers, social workers and day care center employees, report any potential child abuse.

Information from the Florida Department of Children and Families lists Payne as director of A Better Choice Children's Academy at 449 Park St., Sebring.
A non-compliance rating for supervision was listed on a June 9 inspection report of the center.
"Direct supervision of children in the three/four combination group was inadequate in that a child was found in the classroom alone and the teacher responsible for the group was not aware that he was there," the report stated.
The women's arrests bring the total to four who were indicted Wednesday after the grand jury heard evidence and testimony from the death investigation.

Short's former boyfriend, Avon Park police officer James Parker, 32, was indicted for first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. He remains in jail under no bond.

Both Short and Payne were released from Highlands County Jail on a $6,000 and $500 bond, respectively. Vasquez bonded out of Hardee County Jail on a $500 bond.

Kaedyn Short died May 27 at a hospice home where she was being cared for in her final days. She had been on life support at All Children's Hospital for some time after being hospitalized for severe injuries she suffered March 29.
Deputies were called to Highlands Regional Medical Center after Short, then 20 months old, was brought into the emergency room with severe injuries. Doctors determined Short suffered several skull fractures, according to the sheriff's office.

Parker was reportedly watching the child during the evening of March 29 while her mother was at work.

Highlands County Sheriff's Detective Tyrone Tyson testified at Parker's May 4 bond hearing there was evidence of older injuries found on Kaedyn Short. These included a fractured right collarbone that was two months old at the time and a broken elbow that occurred about a week prior to March 29.

Parker is scheduled for a pretrial conference July 7, while Short is set to appear July 27. Payne will be in court on July 8. Vasquez did not have a court date set on Thursday.

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