A woman has been charged with three felony counts of alleged neglect of a dependent after one of her dogs killed her infant son in January.
Lafayette resident Jennifer Connell, 38, had charges filed against her Thursday, months after Lafayette Police Department officers visited her residence on Greenbush Street on Jan. 25, according to court documents. Officers arrived at the home after receiving a call notifying them that a dog was attacking an infant.
When they arrived, they found Jaymeson Connell directing them to a bedroom inside the home. An LPD officer saw a dog with blood on its face and chest in the bedroom, per a probable cause affidavit, and an infant on the ground who didn't seem to be breathing.
The officer shot the dog, the affidavit states, and medical personnel took care of the infant, later identified as 26-day-old Julian Connell, brother to Jaymeson. The baby was taken to IU Health Arnett, where he was later pronounced dead, according to previous Exponent reporting.
When other officers later entered the residence, they described the home as being in "poor condition" and covered with "piles of dog feces," per the affidavit. LPD officers and an investigator from the Department of Child Services also found rooms covered with trash, mice and roaches, along with a basement containing two rabbits and a floor covered in rabbit feces.
A later investigation found that the dog, Maisie, was one of two that the Connells owned, according to Jaymeson in the affidavit. The family had experienced trouble with Maisie biting or scratching both brothers and their mother in the past year.
Jennifer Connell had left the door to her bedroom, where her infant son was, open the morning of Jan. 25, according to the affidavit. Jaymeson had heard their two dogs fighting, and so had put the smaller dog in a bathroom with his mother, away from Maisie.
When Jaymeson returned to the bedroom, he found Maisie and Julian on the bed. Unable to separate the two, he called for help, the affidavit states.
In a later interview with an LPD detective, Jennifer Connell explained that she "kept Maisie and the baby separate at all times and never left them alone together," per the affidavit. After an incident the week prior when Maisie had tried to aggressively jump into the seat Julian was occupying in their dining room, Jennifer said she called an animal shelter to try to find a new home for the dog.
Jennifer Connell was booked into the Tippecanoe County Jail Tuesday afternoon on a cash bond of $1,500.