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No additional charges will be filed against two women arrested for death of 3-year-old boy

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NO additional charges will be filed against Lynn Fitial and Stacey Laniyo who were arrested for the death of a child, Variety learned.

Fitial 44, and Laniyo 37, are each  charged with child abuse or neglect.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo on Monday granted the request of Fitial for a bail modification and request to be released to a third-party custodian.

As for Laniyo, the Public Defender’s Office, which represented her, withdrew its request for bail modification and third-party custodian on Thursday.

A preliminary hearing for the two defendants was set for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. before Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo in the Marianas Business Plaza court room.

According to chief prosecutor, John Bradley the death of a child by failure to seek medical care is called a crime of omission.

“CNMI Penal Code does not punish crimes of omission any higher than what is charged,” Bradley said, referring to the charge filed against Fitial and Laniyo.

He added that some jurisdictions raise the punishment for injury or death, even if by omission, if the victim is a child or elderly person, thinking that such vulnerable people deserve greater protection.

“The CNMI does not yet have such a law,” Bradley said.

Child abuse occurs when one “willfully and intentionally strikes, beats or by any other act of commission inflicts physical pain, injury or mental distress upon a child under the age of 18 who is in the person's custody or over which the person occupies a position of authority, such pain or injury being clearly beyond the scope of reasonable corporal punishment, with the result that the child’s physical or mental health and well-being are harmed or threatened.”

According to the Commonwealth Code, a person convicted of child abuse may be punished by imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both; however, the court may, upon conviction, order that the person be provided with appropriate counseling to cure, alleviate or prevent psychological problems that are judged to be related to the child abuse incident.

Judge Govendo issued the arrest warrant for the two women and set a $25,000 cash bail for their release.

Department of Public Safety Detective Rosa Taman Rios, in her affidavit, stated that the injuries on the boy were consistent with abuse.

Dr. Philip Dauterman, for his part, stated that the cause of death was obstruction of the airway due to pharyngitis and tracheitis, contributed by peritonitis due to gastroenteritis.

He said the child’s illness was either caused by a bacterial or a viral infection and was so far advanced at the time he was brought to the Emergency Room.

He said the boy’s symptoms should have been obvious to any reasonable parent or guardian and a cause for concern.

Fitial, the boy’s mother, told police that the child had been ill and was given ibuprofen, which he vomited.

Laniyo, a relative of Fitial, told police that the 3-year-old boy was a child without fear and was “very naughty.”

She said she had recently spanked him with a tree branch to “discipline him because he was naughty.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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