A young Owosso mother has pled guilty to starving her baby to death at a recent hearing. She appeared in the Shiawassee County courtroom several days ago, where she entered a guilty plea to the charges of Second Degree Child Abuse and Involuntary Manslaughter.
According to police records, 19-year-old Kayla Robin Coon of Owosso, has admitted to not feeding her 4-month-old baby daughter, Aria Miller, for long enough that the baby died of starvation. She pled guilty to both Involuntary Manslaughter and Second Degree Child Abuse. Coon had initially been charged with First Degree Murder and First Degree Child Abuse charges, but a plea agreement reached with the prosecutor resulted in lesser charges in return for a guilty plea.
Aria’s body was found on August 18th, 2016, after deputies were called to a duplex on Corunna Avenue for a baby who was allegedly not breathing. When emergency responders arrived, they found Aria’s dead body on the floor. According to investigators, the baby’s body was severely underweight, and at the time of her death she weighed only 6 pounds, which is 2 pounds less than she weighed at birth.
The autopsy results list neglect and severe malnourishment as the causes of death.
In addition, Aria is said to have had an untreated cleft palate. Although there were no visible injuries on the baby’s body, authorities say that Coon’s refusal to feed the child was the reason for her death. It has been speculated that Coon may have struggled to feed the baby because the cleft palate made it difficult. However it is unclear why she chose not to seek help with this issue.
Since Aria’s death, Coon has had a large chest tattoo done that reads, “In loving memory of Aria Rose.” The tattoo was visible when she appeared in court for her last few hearings, where numerous media sources made much of the fact that she didn’t cry. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 2nd, where Coon faces up to 15 years in prison.
The months after a baby is born is often a very emotional and difficult period for new mothers, specifically if they have no support system in place. We have no idea whether or not Coon struggled with undiagnosed postpartum depression, or if she had other mental health issues that made new motherhood difficult. Added to that, the stress of a child with a medical condition that made feeding difficult may have been more than she could handle. We encourage our readers not to judge the situation without having all of the details.