Wis. Babysitter Allegedly Returned Slain Baby to Parents After Disguising Him to Look Alive

Marissa Tietsort was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide

Photo: Wausau Police Department

Police in Wisconsin allege a 28-year-old babysitter killed a 2-month-old boy before concealing his death by dressing him in bulky winter clothes, strapping him into a car seat and pretending he was alive while handing him over to his unwitting parents.

Online court records confirm Marissa Tietsort was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide.

Tietsort has been in police custody since October, PEOPLE learns, when she was detained on unrelated child abuse charges. Her initial $250,000 bond was doubled by a judge on Friday.

PEOPLE was unable to determine if Tietsort has entered pleas to the charges against her, and attempts to reach her attorney were unsuccessful Monday.

The criminal complaint against Tietsort alleges she was aware the baby boy who’d been left in her care died, but says she said nothing to the child’s mother when she came to pick him up. Tietsort herself is a mother of five, the complaint states.

An autopsy determined the victim — identified only as “Benson” — died from blunt force trauma to the head, the complaint reads. Medical examiners also noted severe damage to his tailbone, indicating he was struck with great force.

The victim’s mother dropped him off at Tietsort’s home in Wausau on Oct. 18. Tietsort was also asked to babysit the baby boy’s older brother.

According to the complaint, the baby boy’s mother received a text from Tietsort two hours later. The message alluded to an article that had been posted by a local news website regarding child abuse allegations against her.

In the text, Tietsort explained she was not allowed to be in contact with children because of the allegations. The complaint indicated Tietsort asked the mother not to tell anyone she was watching her boys.

When the mother met Tietsort at a McDonald’s to pick up the boys three hours later, Tietsort allegedly acted like the baby was still alive.

The complaint alleges Tietsort went swimming at a nearby hotel with her son and boyfriend soon after handing the dead baby over to his mother.

The complaint alleges Tietsort dressed the baby boy in winter clothing. She allegedly strapped him into a car seat, and pulled the child’s hat down over his eyes.

The mom told police she thought the baby was sleeping, as it was after 9 p.m. But moments later, while at a laundromat, the mother realized her son was no longer breathing. His limbs were stiff, and his skin was cold to the touch, the complaint states.

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The mother started performing CPR on her son and the boy’s aunt called 911. Officers responded to the scene, and noted the infant “had an ashen skin tone, his jaw was clenched and his lips were blue,” the complaint states.

Tietsort was located the following morning at a nearby hotel. She acknowledged babysitting the two boys but denied killing the infant.

The complaint alleges she told police she made no effort to resuscitate the dead child and decided not to seek medical treatment for him.

Tietsort was arrested in October — two months after the father of an 11-month-old girl she was babysitting filed a complaint with police, alleging his child sustained facial injuries while in her care.

Tietsort allegedly told the girl’s parents the baby had fallen from the couch while asleep, but the doctors who treated her indicated the injuries were allegedly not consistent with the babysitter’s account.

Another allegation was lodged against Tietsort in 2017, but charges were never filed.

Local media reports social services workers have taken custody of four of Tietsort’s children and were unaware she had given birth to her fifth child.

Tietsort is being held at the Marathon County Jail and is pregnant with her sixth child.

It is expected Tietsort will enter pleas during her next scheduled court appearance Jan. 18.

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