Lansing Father Convicted of Manslaughter and Child Abuse

June 7, 2017 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Baby Ava dies as a result of her father's rough treatment when he was tired and frustrated.
Baby Ava dies as a result of her father’s rough treatment when he was tired and frustrated.


22-year-old Tatum Cole, a Lansing resident and father of a baby who is now deceased, was recently convicted of murder and child abuse. The reason? He admitted to being the cause of his baby daughter, Ava’s, death.


Ava had been brought to Sparrow Hospital because she was unresponsive and not breathing. She was declared brain dead the very next day and was placed on life support for a while. However, that didn’t last, and Ava passed away. An autopsy revealed that she had bleeding on both sides of her brain from an injury. Pathologists also said that there were signs of possible older trauma.


Tatum Cole was arrested shortly afterwards, on September 18th, and charged with Open Murder, and First Degree Child Abuse. Although he initially denied having any idea why his daughter would have sustained life-threatening injuries, he finally broke down and admitted what he had done to police.


Cole said that he was sleep-deprived and very tired when, in a fit of anger, he threw his baby daughter onto the couch. In a video recording shown in the courtroom, revealed the details of a police interview in which Cole showed Lansing Police Detectives how he had potentially harmed Ava.


At first, using a doll, Cole demonstrated how he had picked Ava up and forcefully put her down on the couch. He then admitted that he had been more forceful, and the action had been harder than his initial recreation of events. He demonstrated the action a second time, this time using more force than before.


Lansing police often use dolls for demonstrations during child abuse interviews


According to Rhonnie Thorpe, Ava’s mother, her baby daughter was more fragile than most. She suffered from several medical issue, which led to her seeing doctors regularly and taking medication. Thorpe says that Cole was aware of his daughter’s fragile medical condition, and should have been more careful.


Although prosecutors requested that the jury convict Cole of First Degree Child Abuse and First Degree Murder, they couldn’t accept that the harm had been intentional. As a result, Cole was found him guilty of lesser charges, namely Manslaughter and Second Degree Child Abuse.


Child Abuse is a very serious crime, and tends to incite the fury of prosecutors all over the state. As a result, people who have been charged with abusing or neglecting a child, even if they are completely innocent, will need experienced help from criminal defense attorneys who have a long history of getting good results for their clients.


So if you or a loved one have been falsely accused of hurting a child, contact us immediately at 866 766 5245. At The Kronzek Firm, we specialize in the defense of parents and caregivers who are accused of child abuse. We have helped hundreds of Michigan parents over the years. We can help you too