Jett trial day 6: Forensic pathologist testifies boy had 260 injuries, consistent with child abuse

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — A forensic pathologist testified Wednesday that four-year-old Tate Thurman, who died in Feb. 2020, had 260 injuries on his body.

On trial for his death is Lesli Jett, 35, of East Peoria. At the time of the incident, Jett was dating Thurman’s father.

Dr. Amanda Youmans performed the autopsy on the child at the Peoria County Coroner’s Office on Feb. 24, 2020, four days after he was declared brain-dead. Thurman had 84 injuries to his head alone, which she said are consistent with child abuse.

On Thurman’s stomach were nine injuries. The amount of blood from his internal injuries led to multiple organ failure, and ultimately cardiac arrest, she said.

“The abdominal injuries were not consistent with a fall…In totality, his cause of death was blunt force abdominal trauma,” Dr. Youmans said.

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There were 55 injuries on Thurman’s back. Along the child’s spine were multiple bruises, which she said could be consistent with defensive injuries from abuse.

“In children, they will sometimes get into a defensive pose: crouching down their head to protect their face, or they may lie on their side, fetal position, curled up in an attempt to protect their body,” Dr. Youmans said.

Thurman’s clavicle, or collarbone, was fractured on the right side. The child also had injuries to his genitals and buttocks, which Dr. Youmans said are “highly suspicious” for child abuse.

“[The clavicle] would be very difficult to move…without being in extreme pain,” she said.

Dr. Youmans said the Thurman’s autopsy took more than four hours instead of the typical hour and half, as there was “obviously an extensive amount of injuries.”

The prosecution is expected to rest sometime Thursday morning.

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