Toddler Dies Just Before Her 2nd Birthday from 'Unbelievable' Injuries as Mom Is Arrested
While Anderson police aren't sure how Paisley Hudson was injured, they believe her mom, Kayla Hudson, and Hudson's boyfriend, Ryan Ramirez, are responsible
When toddler Paisley Hudson arrived with her mother at the hospital in Anderson, Indiana, on Saturday morning, the little girl was unresponsive but it was unclear exactly what had happened to her.
Hours later, Paisley died. At 23 months old, she was just shy of her second birthday.
It wasn’t until after her autopsy that doctors learned Paisley had suffered a fractured skull, internal bleeding and bruises almost beyond counting — all signs of severe physical abuse.
“I’ve never seen injuries like this on an infant before,” Marian Dunnichay, the county medical examiner, tells PEOPLE. “There are no words.”
While authorities still aren’t sure how Paisley was injured, police believe her 25-year-old mother, Kayla Hudson, and Hudson’s boyfriend, Ryan Ramirez, are responsible for her death.
Hudson and Ramirez, 29, were taken into custody on Saturday on suspicion of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a felony, an Anderson Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
Prosecutors have been given a 72-hour extension before formally filing charges and police say additional counts are possible.
Speaking from jail, in an interview on Wednesday with local TV station WXIN, Hudson suggested that Ramirez was to blame for the abuse: “Don’t believe the words somebody tells you. I believe if that wasn’t the case, my daughter would still be here.”
Under questioning after Paisley’s death, the couple allegedly gave differing accounts of what led up to it, according to probable cause affidavits obtained by the Herald Bulletin.
Both Hudson and Ramirez said that on Friday evening, while she worked, Paisley and her older brother were in his care — but their stories split in recalling what happened after Hudson got off work before midnight, the affidavits state, as reported by the Herald Bulletin.
Ramirez allegedly told detectives that after he got back from picking Hudson up from work, with the children in the car, he put Paisley to bed, face-down. Around 3 a.m. he noticed Paisley had moved, but by 6 a.m. she appeared to be “cold and lifeless,” he said, according to the affidavits.
Hudson, however, allegedly said that after getting home from work Friday night she left the hotel where they were staying to go buy cream and green tea bags to “cover extensive bruising on [her son’s] legs and body,” one detective wrote in the affidavit.
She left again after her son went to sleep, then returned and stayed up into Saturday morning with Ramirez, she allegedly said.
At one point Hudson allegedly said, she went to check on her daughter because she became worried after noticing that Paisley hadn’t woken up or moved all night.
The couple both allegedly told detectives that when Paisley was found unresponsive, Hudson attempted to warm her body temperature with a hot bath and performed CPR.
But before Hudson left to take Paisley to the hospital, Ramirez allegedly stopped her and said that “they needed to get their stories straight,” the affidavits state.
Neither suspect called 911, according to the Herald Bulletin.
Hudson allegedly told Ramirez that she wouldn’t waste time working on a cover story, one of the affidavits states.
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“I could’ve opened my eyes a little bit more and quit being so blind about everything,” she told WXIN from jail this week. “I didn’t realize the person I brought into my child’s lives.”
Hudson said she “didn’t realize the severity of it until I lost my daughter and that’s when things starting coming in place. Maybe stuff was going on.”
She would have stopped the alleged abuse if she knew about it, she told WXIN. But a friend told the station that there were troubling signs long before Paisley’s death and that the Department of Child Services had previously been called.
Anderson police were unable to comment to PEOPLE on these allegations, and DCS did not return calls on Thursday.
Attorney information for both Hudson and Ramirez was unavailable. They remain in custody in lieu of $100,000 bond each.
Dunnichay, the medical examiner, says it took her two hours to count the bruises blotting Paisley’s body. The girl’s two liver lacerations led to internal bleeding and are often seen in victims of a car crash, not toddlers, Dunnichay says, calling the injuries “shocking” and “unbelievable.”
“This little girl was a fighter,” Dunnichay says. “But I guess she’s in a better place now.”