Indian Babysitter to Serve Jail Term Over Child’s Death in US

An Indian who had worked as a baby sitter was charged with causing the death of a toddler was found guilty to first-degree manslaughter in exchange for an agreement by which she will serve 14 years in prison.

Kinjal Patel, 29, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29 in the death of Athiyan Sivakumar, who was 19 months old when he died at Yale-New Haven Hospital Jan. 19, 2014. His injuries occurred three days earlier while he was under Patel’s care at her apartment on Middletown Avenue.

The office of the chief state medical examiner ruled the child’s death a homicide and that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma with multiple sites of impact.

Kinjal Patel, 29, was sentenced on Wednesday under a plea deal entered in Superior Court in New Haven in which she did not admit guilt but conceded there was enough evidence to secure her conviction.

Patel’s attorney, Kevin Smith, said she pleaded under the Alford doctrine, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes there is enough evidence to likely secure a conviction at trial. Such a plea results in a finding of guilt by the court. Smith maintained the boy’s death was an accident.

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Under the agreement she will also serve five years’ probation for causing the death of Athiyan Sivakumar, who died at Yale-New Haven Hospital in January 2014 of multiple injuries, including a fractured skull.

Police say Patel initially told them that while she was babysitting the boy he suffered a head injury after slipping on the floor. She later admitted she became angry and pushed him in the face, causing him to fall backward and strike his head.

The boy died three days later.

The chief state medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma with multiple sites of impact.

Patel’s lawyer, Kevin Smith, said on Thursday his client “never intended to hurt the child.”

Patel told police after the toddler would not eat rice and spat in her face, she picked him up and slammed his feet onto the kitchen floor three times, then shook his head back and forth, according to the court documents.

She had been under investigation at the time by the state’s Department of Children and Families for an incident a month earlier when the boy was brought to the hospital with cuts on his lip and a bruised chin.

Although the boy’s parents agreed at that time to stop hiring Patel, They continued using her services. The parents were later arrested for “risk of injury” to the child. Their case is pending.

Patel is not a U.S. citizen and federal immigration officials will likely deport her to India upon her release, her lawyer said.

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