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Stigler baby died after unauthorized visit to mother, report says

A baby boy who was not supposed to be left unsupervised with his mother after experiencing a serious head injury and broken bones in her care died in April 2011 after once again being left with her, Oklahoma Department of Human Services records reveal.
by Randy Ellis Published: December 8, 2012
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STIGLER — A baby boy who was not supposed to be left unsupervised with his mother after experiencing a serious head injury and broken bones in her care died in April 2011 after once again being left with her overnight, records reveal.

Randi Meshelle Lunceford, 29, of Stigler has been charged with four felony counts of causing or permitting injury or abuse to a child in connection with the April 12, 2011, death of her 8-month-old baby, Landon Johnson.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Haskell County District Court.

A newly released report from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services said it was the baby's biological father — who lived apart from Lunceford — who allowed the overnight visit while the father dealt with an emergency.

Landon suffered several serious injuries in the months leading up to his death, according to the DHS report.

DHS officials said they first received a report of Landon being hurt at the home of his mother's boyfriend on Oct. 18, 2010.

Landon was transferred from a nearby hospital to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa after suffering “nonaccidental head trauma,” the report said.

“Landon reportedly had brain swelling and was admitted in critical condition,” the report said.

The child's mother was “unable to provide any explanation” for Landon's injury, DHS workers reported.

DHS child welfare officials entered a “substantiated” finding of abuse and recommended court intervention “as to the child's near death by an unknown perpetrator and failure to protect” by the mother.

However, the Haskell County district attorney's office, which was led by J.B. Miller at the time, declined to file a deprived petition. Prosecutors said they could not meet their burden of proof based on testimony of available witnesses and there was no indication the evidence was likely to change, the report said.

Landon left the hospital in the care of his mother on Dec. 8, 2010, DHS workers reported.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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