Babysitters Allegedly Claimed Toddler Fell Down the Stairs and Died — Then They Were Charged
Brantley Santiago died in April after, his babysitters allegedly claimed, he fell down the stairs accidentally — but authorities believe otherwise
In late April, 3-year-old Brantley Santiago died after he fell down the stairs of his home in Orwell, Ohio, while in the care of his babysitters. He sustained blunt force injuries to his head, body and extremities, with brain, skeletal and soft tissue injuries.
He died days later in the hospital.
It was an accident — or so police were told at the time.
In November, the boy’s babysitters, Valorie Olah and Samantha Olah, were indicted along with his mom in connection with his death, which was ruled a homicide.
Prosecutors believe the Olahs, who are mother and daughter, claimed it was an accident in order to cover their role in Brantley’s injuries and possibly to hide previous abuse.
“Medical evidence demonstrates that the injuries sustained by Brantley which led to his death could not have been exclusively caused by a fall down a flight of stairs, as alleged by the Olahs,” Prosecuting Attorney Nicholas Iarocci said in a news release.
Iarocci said that, according to the evidence, Brantley “exhibited other injuries sustained while in the care of the Olahs” before his death.
His mother, Beverly Santiago, was allegedly aware of suspicious injuries he previously suffered while in the Olahs’ care, according to Iarocci. He said she was directed by a pediatrician only days before her son’s death to avoid using them as babysitters.
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Samantha, 26, and Valorie, 57, each face two counts of murder, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of felonious assault, one count of second-degree endangering children and one count of third-degree endangering children, according to prosecutors.
Santiago, who is reportedly 35, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and one count of endangering children. She’s accused of not protecting her son and placing him with the Olahs while she went to work, despite warnings for his safety.
The three suspects were arraigned on Friday. They pleaded not guilty, according to the Star Beacon.
During the hearing, the Olahs’ attorney, William Bobulsky, asked that Samantha be able to receive visits from her toddler son, but the judge denied her request.
Santiago’s attorney, Gary Pasqualone, said she will forcefully dispute the prosecution’s case, the Star Beacon reports.
Neither Bobulsky nor Pasqualone could be reached for comment by PEOPLE on Monday.