LIMA — More than two years after young Madilynn Shellabarger was found unresponsive in a Delphos apartment and later died of what medical examiners said was blunt force trauma, the case against the infant’s mother on Wednesday took an unexpected twist.
A jury trial scheduled to begin next week in Allen County Common Pleas Court for Vicky Lynn Shellabarger was put on hold indefinitely after it was revealed that new evidence in the case had come to light Tuesday.
During a hastily-called hearing Wednesday morning, Judge Jeffrey Reed referred to a “development” in the case that necessitated the delay. Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Randall Basinger said a “partial report that had not previously been supplied” and which “warrants additional review” had arrived at the prosecutor’s office Tuesday.
Defense Attorney Steve Chamberlain said Basinger and Prosecutor Juergen Waldick called him immediately after the document in question was received, and a hearing was quickly called by the judge. None of the parties involved in Wednesday’s hearing discussed the contents of the new information, although the judge said the document involved “an individual who is currently incapacitated who may or may not have very valuable information” that is pertinent to Shellabarger’s case.
Chamberlain asked the court to find prosecutors violated court rules pertaining to the turning over evidence and made a motion that the charges against his client be dismissed.
“While I do not believe this was intentional, I am still asking the court to rule that this is a discovery violation and to dismiss all charges,” the defense attorney argued.
Reed agreed the state had committed a violation, albeit one that was neither intentional nor malicious, but stopped short of dismissing the charges against Shellabarger. He agreed that the temporary postponement of her trial was necessary to allow all parties to investigate the latest information.
Shellabarger, who turns 38 years old on Saturday, is charged with murder, an unclassified felony; involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; endangering children, a felony of the second degree, and a third-degree felony count of endangering children in connection the death of her 22-month-old daughter, Madilylnn Shellabarger.
The infant was found unresponsive in a Delphos apartment on April 29, 2018, and died later that day at a Lima hospital. Vickie Shellabarger had placed a 911 call after the infant was found to be unresponsive.
The death was initially described by Delphos Police Chief Mark Slate as suspicious. An investigation by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, Delphos Police Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was conducted.
Authorities ultimately said the child died as the result of blunt force trauma.
No new trial date was scheduled for Shellabarger.