LIMA — Jurors in the trial of Vicki Shellabarger, the 38-year-old Convoy woman charged with murder in the death of her infant daughter nearly three years ago, watched and listened to more than two hours of a videotaped interview Wednesday afternoon during which the defendant told investigators the only other adults inside a Delphos apartment in the hours leading up to Madilynn Shellabarger’s death had never been left alone with the infant.
“My biggest problem,” former Allen County Sheriff’s Office Detective Mark Baker is heard telling the infant’s mother, “is that you’ve eliminated all the adults that could have done this … except you. You were the only adult alone with her. Someone killed your daughter and someone has to answer for it.”
“I did not (expletive) kill my kid,” Vicki Shellabarger told the detective before storming out of the interview room.
Shellabarger is charged with murder, an unclassified felony; involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; endangering children, a second-degree felony; and a third-degree count of endangering children related to the April 29, 2018 death of her daughter.
Dr. Cynthia Beisser, deputy coroner and forensic pathologist in the Lucas County Coroner’s Office, testified Wednesday morning that Madilynn Shellabarger died of blunt abdominal trauma. Autopsy photos viewed by jurors showed the infant with bruises covering most of her body. Beisser said the infant also had “extensive tearing of the bowel.”
Asked by Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick to describe the amount of force such injuries would require, the doctor said a hard blow to the abdomen was responsible for the child’s death.
Under cross-examination by Defense Attorney Steve Chamberlain, Beisser said there was “no way of knowing” the amount of elapsed time between when Madilynn Shellabarger suffered those injuries and when she died, but that it was likely somewhere between “minutes” and “three hours.”
During Baker’s interview with Vicki Shellabarger the day following Madilynn’s death, the detective asked about the infant’s extensive bruising. The woman claimed to have no knowledge of the source of the bruises, telling Baker, “I promise you; I don’t beat my kids.”
Jurors also heard more testimony Wednesday about behavior exhibited by the defendant that was inconsistent with that typically displayed by someone who had just lost a child.
A former babysitter of Madilynn’s said Vicki Shellabarger “danced around” at her daughter’s funeral, while a law enforcement officer said the woman “flirted” with a young Delphos police officer and asked for his phone number mere hours after the infant was pronounced dead.
Deputy Kyle Fittro of the Van Wert Sheriff’s Office, who also worked part-time for the Delphos Police Department, was at Shellabarger’s apartment at 218 N. Main St. in Delphos when the woman returned from Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center hours after her daughter died from her injuries.
Fittro testified that the woman was “laughing and joking” with others in the apartment and even asked a Delphos police officer for his phone number and seemed to be flirting.
Shellabarger vigorously shook her head in a negative fashion from the defendant’s table during Fittro’s testimony.