EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — Adorned in pink bandanas, Jocelyn Hunt and others are taking a stand, looking for justice for Kaylei Carter, a toddler who died this past May.
Kaylei was 20 months old when she was found dead at a home on Jeannette Benton Drive under the care of her grandmother, Tiffney Johnson. Kaylei would have celebrated her second birthday this past Saturday.
“My hands were just shaking because it’s just so upsetting,” Hunt, a friend of Kaylei’s father and stepfather, said. “She’s dead, not here anymore.”
Johnson appeared in court via video conference for her review hearing Thursday morning. She is facing a felony charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury and is also accused of violating probation in a habitual traffic violator conviction. But Hunt and others believe the charges aren’t enough to avenge Kaylei.
“She [Kaylei] didn’t hurt her arm,” Hunt said. “She is no longer living. She is passed away. That is murder no matter which way you look at it.”
Kaylei’s death was determined to be from sepsis, a bacterial infection. A toxicology report showed that she had recently injested synthetic marijuana prior to her death as well. Johnson admitted to smoking synthetic marijuana the night before Kaylei’s death.
“How can someone let a child get ahold of K-2 or be so sick that they have sepsis? I can’t comprehend how they neglected Kaylei,” Hunt said.
Hunt said she has been coming to every court appearance, even if it is just a review hearing, as a way to show support for Kaylei and also to keep Kaylei’s father and stepfather up to date with the latest.
“They are going through a lot,” she said. “This is killing them that there’s not more than just Tiffney in jail.”
The judge left Johnson’s bail at $15,000 for the neglect case, but the judge is ordering her held without bond for the petition to revoke probation that was filed in her other case.
Her next court date is set for October 17 at 2 p.m.