KDPS: 2 arrested in suspicious death of a girl, 4

A house in the 3900 block of Mt. Olivet Road where police say a 4-year-old girl died. (July 10, 2017)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo police say two people are in custody after a 4-year-old girl died Sunday morning.

Police were called to the 3000 block of Mt. Olivet Road at 5:11 a.m. on a report of a child who was not breathing. The first officer at the scene immediately began to perform CPR on the 4-year-old girl. Rescue efforts continued for more than 50 minutes.

“Lifesaving measures were attempted on a small child,” Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Capt. Shannon Bagley said. “They were unsuccessful.”

Officers say the girl appeared to have suffered physical trauma.

“It was apparent that there was some suspicious activity that occurred, which caused us to go deeper into an investigation,” Bagley said.

Members of KDPS’s criminal investigation division were called in, as well as the crime lab.

Two adults from Kalamazoo, a 34-year-old male and 33-year-old female, were arrested. Police say the woman is the girl’s mother.

State records show that 34-year-old Matthew Longenecker and 33-year-old Kelly Ballinger live at the house where the child died and where the adults were arrested. They are engaged, according to their Facebook pages.

After Bagley presents the case to the prosecutor Tuesday morning, both Logenecker and Ballinger are expected to be formally arraigned in the afternoon.

24 Hour News 8 has confirmed that the Office of Children’s Ombudsman, a state watchdog agency, will open an investigation to examine whether Children’s Protective Services handled prior cases involving the family of the 4-year-old appropriately. The fact that OCO is opening an investigation means CPS had contact with the deceased child’s family within the last two years.

Two other children who were in the home were taken into CPS custody.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.