Crime Watch 8

Murder charge filed in death of Anderson child

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — The Madison County prosecutor on Thursday filed formal charges against an Anderson mother and her boyfriend in connection with the Saturday murder of 1-year-old Paisley Hudson. 

Kayla Hudson, 25, faces a level-one felony charge of neglect of dependent resulting in death and a class A misdemeanor charge of reckless supervision by a child care provider. 

Ryan Ramirez, 29, faces charges of murder and reckless supervision by a child care provider. 

Madison County Coroner Marian Dunnichay said Hudson brought Paisley to St. Vincent Anderson Hospital, where Paisley was pronounced deceased at 7:06 a.m. Saturday. An autopsy completed on Sunday morning determined Paisley Hudson’s cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries, including two liver lacerations, which led to hemoperitoneum, Dunnichay said. 

Court documents filed on Thursday provide more details about the events leading up to Paisley’s death. 

When officers with Anderson Police Department reported to St. Vincent Hospital on Saturday morning to investigate the child’s death, Kayla Hudson told them she had left her children in the care of Ramirez, her boyfriend of six months, while she went to work on Friday night. Ramirez and the children dropped Kayla off at work at 5 p.m. and when he picked her up around 11 p.m., Paisley was asleep in her car seat, according to court documents. 

Ramirez carried Paisley back up to the room they stayed in at a red Roof Inn and put her to bed in a Pack’n Play where she normally slept, while Kayla put her son to bed. She told police she then went to Walmart to buy cream and tea bags, which she returned and applied to the boy’s body, to treat bruises and swelling. She then left again to get food and cigarettes. 

When Kayla Hudson came back the second time, court documents say, she asked Ramirez if he had checked on Paisley, and he said he’d changed her diaper. She told police she and Ramirez were awake all night, talking and watching TV, when around 6:15 a.m. Saturday, she became worried that Paisley hadn’t woken up or moved. When she tried to wake Paisley, the girl was unresponsive, not breathing and cold to the touch, she told police. 

Kayla undressed the girl and put her in a warm bath, then attempted to perform CPR and redressed her but did not call 911, according to court documents. Kayla told police that Ramirez said, “You’re going to get CPS called on you. You’ve already lost one kid, you don’t want to lose [redacted name] too. We’ve got to come up with something.” She told police that she refused to come up with alibis and left her other child in the care of Ramirez, while she took Paisley to St. Vincent Anderson. 

Ramirez’s two sons were interviewed by police; one of them said Ramirez hit Paisley “for no reason, he hits her a lot.”

Hudson’s other child was examined and found to be “covered” with bruises and other signs of physical trauma. 


Hamilton County’s ‘Wellness Unit’ part of nationwide effort to improve mental health among officers

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — An initiative to improve employee well-being at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is among a spate of efforts across the nation to address mental health concerns among officers.

Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush announced the department’s new “Wellness Unit”  — devoted to the physical, mental and spiritual health of its deputies, correctional officers and civilian employees — Friday in a Facebook post.

“Our guys really care about the public,” he said Monday in an interview with News 8. “When you see somebody who’s injured or victimized, it really impacts us… We’re only human.”

The Wellness Unit launched in January with funding approved by county council members and commissioners.

Appointments are held off-site at undisclosed locations to protect the privacy of employees. Supervisors are not briefed on which employees seek counseling or what they discuss during sessions.

Information gathered during counseling sessions will not be used to demote or discipline employees, and will only be disclosed if required by law, including when somebody poses an immediate danger to themselves or others.

The department’s entire staff will receive training related to suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, critical incidents, addiction, mindfulness and officer wellness, the sheriff said.

Nearly 1 in 4 police officers has thoughts of suicide at some point in their life, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI); the suicide rate for police officers is four times higher than the rate for firefighters.

Years of daily exposure to stress, trauma and tragedy can have other devastating consequences if appropriate coping skills are not developed, according to Susan Sherer-Vincent, a licensed clinical social worker, certified alcoholism counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist involved in launching the Wellness Unit.

“Think of the hurricanes that come in, in Florida, and think of the palm trees where they bend,” she explained. “But then, what happens afterwards? They go back up. That’s called resilience. We want our officers to bend, not break.”

Until approximately 3 to 5 years ago, officers were often conditioned to “pull [themselves] up by the bootstraps and go to the next call” instead of addressing personal struggles, Sherer-Vincent said.

Cultivating resiliency can be difficult within a law enforcement culture that equates mental health challenges with “weakness,” she said.

“[Officers] are trained to have the warrior mentality,” Sherer-Vincent told News 8. “Truly, they would have been made fun of [in the past for seeking counseling].”

She compared strong, silent officers with underdeveloped coping skills to California’s famed redwood trees.

“They’re pretty sturdy. But what would happen if you took an ax and hit those every single day, day after day, for years? They would eventually fall,” she said.

Quakenbush credits his wife, church and non-law enforcement friends with providing “a really good support system.”

“But sometimes, you need a professional,” he said, urging employees to “talk through” negative emotions instead of turning to alcohol and other substances for temporary relief.

Several internal cases that resulted in disciplinary action during his year-long tenure as sheriff may have been prevented with wellness-focused intervention, Quakenbush said.

He was unable to comment on personnel matters. 

Sources within the department indicated some of the cases involved employees with substance abuse issues that had escalated over time, possibly as a result of work-related stress that had gone unaddressed. 

“I wouldn’t say that [disciplinary action] was happening often,” Quakenbush told News 8. “But seeing it happen and knowing that we probably could have done something about it made it impactful and something that we wanted to make a priority.”

Hamilton County announced its Wellness Unit days after New York City police officials revealed plans to hire a team of psychologists to combat a spike in officer suicides.

On Feb. 13, Indianapolis police officials said they planned to swear in the department’s first full-time therapy dog by the end of March.

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