Woman sentenced in 6-year-old’s death may be charged with previous abuse of Hardin girl

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A woman sentenced to 20 years in state prison for criminal endangerment in the death of 6-year-old Kiomora “Kiki” Hogan could be facing more charges.

Big Horn County Attorney Jay Harris filed court documents on Wednesday seeking to charge Kerstyn Old Bull, 27, with two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault on a minor and criminal child endangerment, all felonies.

Harris said he expected District Judge Blair Jones to issue an order later this month on whether to grant authority to file the charges.

The judge in February sentenced Old Bull to 20 years, which was the statutory maximum, for her guilty plea to criminal endangerment and obstructing justice charges.

Old Bull initially was charged with deliberate homicide and accused of beating Kiomora after authorities learned that the girl had been found unresponsive on March 2, 2015, and rushed to a Denver hospital, where she died. Old Bull pleaded guilty to a lesser crime as part of a plea bargain in which the homicide charge was dismissed.

The victim was the daughter of Old Bull’s boyfriend, Clint Hogan, who recently pleaded no contest to obstructing justice in the case. Hogan is to be sentenced April 26. A plea agreement calls for the county attorney to recommend a five-year deferred sentence.

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Harris said Thursday his goal in seeking additional charges against Old Bull is to hold her “accountable for all probable instances of criminal conduct.”

The potential new charges relate to suspected child abuse Kiomora may have suffered prior to March 2, 2015, and are based on investigative information from the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI and from interviews with Hogan in July 2015 and last month, Harris said.

An affidavit of probable cause, filed by Harris, describes photographs and medical reports showing various injuries to Kiomora, including bruising, a cracked rib and burns.

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The investigation showed that Old Bull had taken the girl to the emergency room at the Crow Indian Health Service Hospital on Feb. 4, 2015, due “to a reported slip and fall onto a concrete floor, caused by a toy,” court records said.

Hogan told investigators that he did not abuse his daughter but that she showed “fear and apprehension about being alone with Old Bull,” court records said.

“In observing (Kiomora’s) unclothed body in the month of February, Hogan stated to investigators that it looked like his daughter had been in a ‘boxing match,’” records said.

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Hogan also told investigators that when he questioned Old Bull about his daughter’s bruising, Old Bull got defensive and offered “unlikely scenarios” as an explanation, the records said.

Medical staff in Denver told investigators that Kiomora died from a single forceful blow to the head or from someone smashing her head into a stationary object like a floor or wall. The injuries were acute and traumatic and could not have been caused by a fall or accident. The girl also had fresh and old bruises over her entire body, indicating habitual abuse, court records said.

In the latest court filing, Harris said the Denver hospital’s child protection team review noted that the history provided by Hogan and Old Bull did not adequately explain the girl’s injuries. And, the team’s review continued, that based on the “multiple stages of her healing contusions, burns and abrasions, (Kiomora) has suffered chronic child physical abuse and is a battered child,” he said.

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