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Connecticut Grandmother Arrested, Charged After Telling Daughter to Lie to Authorities About Death of 6-Week-Old Baby: State Police

Linda Kennison appears in a Connecticut State Police mugshot.

Linda Kennison appears in a Connecticut State Police mugshot.

A Connecticut grandmother has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of her six-week-old infant grandson.  State police say Linda S Kennison, 58, of Slater Ave. in Griswold is charged with risk of injury to a child.

According to the authorities, Kennison’s daughter, Crystal L Czyzewski, 35, also of Griswold, admitted smothering her baby boy for “20 minutes” until he was dead.  Law&Crime reported the details of the case against Czyzewski on Wednesday.

Czyzewski’s admission came after a convoluted investigation.  According to documents obtained by Law&Crime, Czyzewski herself called 911 at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 to report that her baby was “all white, he’s pale.”  The documents say Czyzewski told dispatchers that “stuff” was coming out of her baby’s nose and that the infant was breathing “very lightly.”  Czyzewski could be heard talking to her mother — Kennison — in the background of the call, the state police documents indicate.

Crystal Czyzewski appears in a Connecticut State Police mugshot.

Crystal Czyzewski appears in a Connecticut State Police mugshot.

Emergency crews rushed the infant to a nearby hospital and then to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.  The little boy, who was born Oct. 1., died on Nov. 21.  An initial post-mortem exam was inconclusive, and the infant showed no clear signs of abuse, state police said.

When she was interviewed initially, Kennison said the infant had been placed in a swing at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t try to get up until 4:00 p.m.  She said the infant was cold at one point, so she claimed she placed a blanket on his head.  Kennison said Czyzewski put the baby — state police called the boy a “victim” in their reports — in a bassinet.  At 9:25 p.m., Czyzewski “said the victim had white stuff in his noise and said he was not breathing,” per Kennison’s initial telling of the event; Kennison said she tried to help perform CPR on the child until rescue crews arrived that evening.

Czyzewski, after changing her own story about what happened, eventually told the state police that her mother told her to lie.  Czyzewski “acknowledged that she was stressed due to life and and having two kids” and said she wasn’t planning to have another child, according to the state police.

Authorities say Czyzewski then admitted that she smothered the baby because her children were crying and that she couldn’t handle the noise and the stress.  The victim’s mother — Czyzewski — “claimed her mother (Ms. Kennison) knew the baby was not breathing, but they decided they would lie about it because she was concerned she would lose her 5-year-old if the truth was revealed,” the state police said in a report.  Czyzewski “further explained that her mother knew the victim was not breathing all day, but did not know she had suffocated him.”

The state police continued their probe by again speaking to Kennison.  Again, per a state police report:

Ms. Kennison was informed that the accused admitted to suffocating the victim and leaving him in the apartment for most of the day without seeking medical aid for the victim. Ms. Kennison then admitted she knew the victim was not alive on the morning of November 17, 2021. She acknowledged she should have called the police but said she didn’t know what to do. Ms. Kennison said the victim was left in his swing all day after they thought he was deceased. On November 17, 2021 at about 4:00 PM, Ms. Kennison said she and the accused devised a plan to put “food” in the victim’s mouth to, “make it look like the baby was still alive.” She said it did not work, “the baby was lifeless.” Ms. Kennison confirmed that the accused called “911” at approximately 9:00 PM that night. Ms. Kennison said she did not know the accused had done anything to hurt the victim.

Kennison was arrested Wednesday pursuant to a warrant.  She was taken into custody “without incident,” the state police said, and is scheduled to appear before a superior court judge in Norwich on Friday.  An additional court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 6, also in Norwich.

State police say they do not anticipate further arrests in connection with the infant’s death.

Under Connecticut law, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-21 to be precise, risk of injury to a child is defined in relevant part as follows:

(a) Any person who . . .

(1) wilfully or unlawfully causes or permits any child under the age of sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that the life or limb of such child is endangered, the health of such child is likely to be injured or the morals of such child are likely to be impaired, or does any act likely to impair the health or morals of any such child . . .

shall be guilty of . . . a class C felony.

A class C felony is generally punishable by a prison sentence of between one and ten years.

[images via Connecticut State Police mugshots]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.