Couple arraigned in death of 4-year-old girl

Kelly Ballinger, Matthew Longenecker
Kelly Ballinger and Matthew Longenecker appear in court via video to be arraigned on homicide and child abuse charges in connection to the death of Ballinger's 4-year-old daughter, Desiree. (July 11, 2017)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo woman and her fiancé were arraigned Tuesday on charges related to the death of her 4-year-old daughter, Desiree.

Kelly Ballinger, 33, and Matthew Longenecker, 34, were both arraigned for homicide and child abuse, which has a potential penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Desiree
An undated courtesy photo of 4-year-old Desiree.

A detective with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety told a judge the couple would wrap the child in blankets and duct tape at night. The girl was allegedly wrapped so tight that she couldn’t move until being unwrapped by the couple.

The detective described it as a type of swaddling.

According to the detective, Ballinger found her daughter not breathing and the child’s face and head were still wrapped in duct tape. When police arrived, they found numerous cuts and bruises on her body.

Both Ballinger and Longenecker allegedly admitted to wrapping the girl in blankets and duct tape.