Indian-origin baby sitter to serve 14 years for toddler’s death

New York, Aug 28 (IANS) A 29-year-old Indian-American baby sitter will serve 14 years in prison in the US after she was found guilty of the death of a toddler in her care.

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Kinjal Patel pleaded under the Alford doctrine, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that there is enough evidence for conviction at trial, New Haven Register reported.

Patel was found guilty by court for the death of Athiyan Sivakumar, who was 19-months-old when he died at Yale-New Haven Hospital on January 19, 2014.

Sivakumar sustained fatal injuries while he was under Patel’s care.

Medical examiners involved in the case ruled that the child’s death is a homicide and the cause of his death was blunt force trauma.

Patel’s attorney Kevin Smith asserted that the boy’s death was an accident.

“There was zero intent on her part to harm this child,” Smith was quoted as saying.

“This was a horrible, tragic accident, probably due to her lack of experience with small children and not knowing how to handle these types of situations,” she added.

“The physical evidence (if the case had come to trial) would not show a plan or thought on her part. It was just split second reactions with unintended but tragic consequences,” Smith said.

According to the police warrant, the toddler gave Patel a hard time about eating rice and spat water on her face.

A furious Patel picked up the boy and slammed his feet onto the kitchen floor three times and shook his head back and forth. She later pushed the boy in the face and he fell backward, hitting his head, the warrant added.

The prosecutor did not comment and said she will talk in detail about the case during the sentencing hearing scheduled for October 29.

Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Clifford will impose a 20 year sentence, to be suspended after Patel serves 14 years, and she will also serve five years probation, the report in the daily said.

Smith argued that since Patel is not a US citizen she must be deported to India after she completes her sentence.

The boy’s parents also face charges in the case.

They allegedly lied to detectives about the incident in which their boy was injured, the report said.

The boy’s mother, Thenmozhi Rajendran, 26, told police initially that she was taking care of her son when she noticed his breathing was abnormal and the boy fell while reaching for a doorknob.

The boy’s father Sivakumar Mani, 35, allegedly backed his wife’s “abnormal breathing” story.

On further investigation, it was revealed that the boy was under Patel’s care on the day of the incident in December.

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