Baby Suffocation Case Moves Closer To Trial

melissa_haskellA judge has ruled that prosecutors have enough evidence to try a Montgomery County woman accused of suffocating a five-month-old child she was babysitting 19 years ago. 38-year-old Melissa Haskell (pictured here) of Swedesburg appeared Wednesday at a preliminary hearing.  She is charged with third degree murder in the 1992 death of Ryan Baurley at his Upper Merion home.  The County Coroner’s office ruled at the time that it was a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as Crib Death.  A review of the original autopsy, conducted earlier this year, found bruises on the baby’s brain and larynx and alcohol in his blood.  Police said they re-opened the case after a concerned citizen told them Haskell had admitted giving the baby whiskey and suffocating him by putting her hand over his mouth because he wouldn’t stop crying, and she admitted it again during electronic surveillance.  Her lawyer said the tipster was her ex husband, 42-year-old Michael Leflar of Bridgeport, he came forward during a bitter dispute over the custody of their son, six-year-old Michael Junior, and he questioned the ex-husband’s credibility.

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