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A Georgia babysitter—who authorities say made a disturbing series of internet searches—has been charged with murder in the death of a toddler in her care.
Kirstie Flood, a mother herself, is now facing two counts of felony murder, one count of malice murder, aggravated battery and first-degree cruelty to children after a 2-year-old child she had been babysitting was found dead with “severe injuries,” according to a statement from the Sandy Springs Police Department.
Police said authorities were called to an apartment in Sandy Springs on Dec. 9 after receiving a report of an “unresponsive child.” The toddler—who family identified to local station WSB-TV as Fallon Fridley—was rushed to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Sandy Springs Police Sgt. Salvador Ortega told Oxygen.com the Flood initially told police that the child had fallen and hit her head while playing in the playground earlier that day.
However, police said an autopsy determined the child’s injuries did not match Flood’s story and instead had happened “during her care by the suspect.”
Ortega declined to provide any specifics about the injuries, only saying that they were "severe."
Police also found a disturbing series of internet searches on Flood’s phone, according to a warrant obtained by the WSB-TV. Flood had allegedly used her phone to search “what type of people enjoy abusing other people’s children” and “what does it mean to have a sudden urge to beat a child that’s not yours.”
Kristin Fridley Gantt, Fallon's mother, told WSB-TV that Flood had been caring for her daughter since August, but had been a close friend of hers for the last five years.
“It’s like this evil was in front of my face for years and I never saw it,” she said.
Gantt described her daughter as someone who would have made a difference in the world.
“She was just the light of my life, the love of my life,” she said.
Gantt’s employer Samantha Shelton, who serves as the CEO of Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Fallon had been tender-hearted and loved animals, just like her mother.
“It’s one thing to lose your child to an illness or an accident you can’t control, but to have someone you knew and trusted harm your child, kill your child,” Shelton said. “It’s going to be a long road to recovery. Our hearts are so heavy.”
Those who knew Flood said they are shocked by the allegations against her.
“She loves children. Her children are her whole world,” friend Sheri Travis told WSB-TV. “She posts about her children every single day. She’s an amazing mom. She would never hurt a child.”
Flood has a lengthy criminal past and was arrested five different times before her 21st birthday for charges ranging from battery to alcohol and drug use, according to Cobb County records obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In November 2012, she was arrested after authorities found her in possession of alprazolam without a prescription during a traffic stop. She pleaded guilty to a drug charge and received three years of probation but that probation was revoked in 2013 after she failed to comply with certain conditions; she was sent to jail for 15 days as a result.
Ortega said Flood is currently being held at the Fulton County Jail without bond.
Flood is facing two counts of murder in the case because in Georgia any time a person commits a felony act that results in the death of another, it automatically becomes a count of felony murder, Ortega said. In this case, since the suspect is accused of two felony acts that resulted in death — both the aggravated battery and cruelty to children in the first degree — it triggered two counts of felony murder.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 29 at 2 p.m.
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