A Wisconsin babysitter with a history of child abuse accusations is accused of killing a baby in her care, then dressing the 2-month old up in a snowsuit and delivering the dead body back to his mother, pretending the baby was still alive and just sleeping.
Marissa Tietsort, 28, was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide, after investigators say she failed to get the baby any help after she realized he was dead. Instead, she allegedly put the dead child in his carseat and took a trip to McDonald’s with her family before returning the boy to his mother, according to Wausau Daily Herald.
The victim’s mother had dropped her son and his older brother at Tietsort’s house on the afternoon of Oct. 18, but then just a few hours later she allegedly received a text from Tietsort.
In the text, Tietsort said she’d been charged with child abuse in a separate incident and asked the mother not to tell anyone she was watching the two boys because she was not allowed to be in contact with children, the paper reports.
The mother picked up the two children after 9 p.m. that night and said Tietsort had put her 2-month-old infant son in his car seat, wearing a snow suit and hat pulled down over his eyes. The mother believed the boy was sleeping and went to a local laundry mat, where she discovered he was unresponsive and cold to the touch.
The mother tried to perform CPR on the baby, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to news station WSAW.
Police found Tietsort at 4:15 a.m. the next morning at an area hotel, where she had gone to go swimming with her child and her boyfriend.
She allegedly told police she knew the infant died in her care, but denied that she had killed him.
Authorities said the baby died from “blunt force head injuries with many multiple impacts to the head,” according to a complaint obtained by the local paper. He also had “fractured, broken off and displaced” his tailbone, suggesting a “significant amount of force” had been used.
Tietsort allegedly told authorities that after she discovered the boy had died, she never tried to seek any medical help but instead laid him down on the floor and put him in a snowsuit and fastened him into his car seat.
When her boyfriend got home, she never told him the child had died, and went with her boyfriend, her own child, the victim’s older brother and the dead baby to McDonald’s to get dinner.
Tietsort has now been formally charged in the infant’s death and is being held at the Marathon County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
“We were able to issue charges today, and start the process,” Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzston said Friday, according to WSAW. “We are glad for the victim’s family that we could move forward.”
Friends and family members of the victim who attended the hearing Friday wore T-shirts that said “Justice for Benson.”
In a letter to Marathon County Judge Jill Falstad, Tietsort had allegedly asked for her bond to be reduced.
“I’m not a monster,” she wrote, according to WSAW.
This is not the first time Tietsort has been accused of abusing a child. In August of 2018, she was arrested and charged with child abuse after she had been accused of injuring an 11-month-old girl in her care. Tietsort allegedly told the girl’s parents she had been injured when she fell off a couch, but a doctor who examined the girl didn’t believe the injuries were consistent with her story.
She was also questioned but never charged in a 2017 incident where an infant sustained a bruised face and skull fracture while in her care.
In addition, four of her own children had been removed from her care after allegations of abuse, the Daily Herald reports. Social service workers were apparently unaware she had given birth to a fifth child and is pregnant with her sixth child.
[Photo: Marathon County Sheriff’s Office]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.