BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Prosecutors in McLean County spent Thursday attempting to paint Cynthia Baker as a habitual abuser, which led to her striking and killing her boyfriend’s 8-year-old daughter Rica Rountree.
According to autopsy reports, Rountree died in January because the intestines inside her body burst and blood seeped into her stomach. The state believes Baker kicked the girl in the stomach, ultimately leading to her death.
OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois pediatric surgeon Charles Aprahamian took the stand Thursday and said that kind of injury could’ve been caused by a car accident, a fall directly on the stomach from 10 feet or higher, or getting punched or kicked in the stomach very hard. The surgeon operated on Rountree and said she was dying quickly, and he did what he could to keep her alive.
When Aprahamian told her father, Richard Rountree, the girl died, he said he was visibly distraught, confused, and sad. But the surgeon said Cynthia was “remarkably calm and quiet.” However, he said that is not out of the ordinary.
But others who lived in the house say baker never touched Rountree.
A 19-year-old living in the house said she never saw Baker physically hit Rountree, but she admits there was animosity between the two once the girl moved in, causing a rocky relationship.
Wednesday, prosecutors said “Baker hated” Rountree.
Baker, 42, of Normal, was arrested in April. She is accused of fatally kicking Rountree in the stomach, which led to massive internal injuries that eventually killed her. Additionally, the child’s autopsy results showed multiple scars, which indicated a months-long span of abuse.