‘Just evil’: Police say daycare worker ‘tortured’ infant before her death

BALTIMORE (WSVN) — It was a case even a seasoned officer struggled to work on: the death of an 8-month-old baby girl, who police say died at the hands of a Baltimore day care worker.

“Just evil,” said Col. Stanley Branford to Fox 45. “I mean what motive is there to treat a baby that way? There is no motive to explain something like this.”

Baltimore Police responded to a report of a baby not breathing at Rocket Tier Learning Center last Tuesday. The 8-month-old girl, identified as Reese Bowman, was taken to a hospital where she died.

While the child showed no obvious signs of trauma initially, police said the day care’s director called them after discovering disturbing security footage of one of their workers, 23-year-old Leah Walden, assaulting the baby.

“Reese Bowman in my opinion was tortured,” Branford said. “The video will show Ms. Walden covering the baby with excessive blankets for a long period of time, fully covering the child’s head. She violently snatched the child out of the crib, by one arm, several times swinging at the baby like she was slapping her and putting pillows over the baby’s face.”

Walden also walked off camera with Bowman several times, and police said they “can only assume” what may have happened off-camera to the child.

Police said they do not yet know what motivated Walden to harm the baby, but said it appeared Reese was awake at the time of the assault.

Officers arrested Walden, charging her with first and second-degree murder, assault, child abuse, and reckless endangerment.

The Bowman family issued a statement, saying, “Our family is suffering tremendous pain and wishes to grieve in private. Our hearts are broken. No family should ever have to experience the loss of a child under any circumstances. We await further information from the unfolding investigation.”

Friends of the baby’s family started a GoFundMe page to help cover the infant’s funeral costs.

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