The first witness called to the stand was Michael Slate. Slate lived in 612 W. Prescott in the basement apartment of Brittney Betzold and Brown’s house, helping remodel, and was around when Brown would be taking care Claydon Urbanek. When questioned by the defense attorney Julie Effenbeck, Slate stated that Clayden was usually crying, and had a bad temper, lashing out at Brittney Betzold if he didn’t get his way.
He also testified that he had noticed the bruises that were present on Claydon’s face days before Claydon’s death on October 4, 2011 at 14 months old. Slate had seen Clayden fall many times, even witnessing him fall face first with a bottle in his mouth causing his lip to be slit open. The bruises didn’t concern Slate, saying if he thought any abuse was going on he would put Clayden’s safety over his friendship with Brown.
Slate had never seen Brown’s own children, when asked by the state prosecutor Ellen Mitchell, but had never seen Brown raise a hand towards Clayden. He also testified to the prosecution that there were three or four bruises on Clayden the Friday before his death when he had seen him. Though Clayden was supposed to go to his father’s, Jordan Urbanek, for the weekend, Brittney Betzold and Brown had requested that they kept the child for the weekend. Slate said they had both discussed this with him, and their reasoning was they didn’t want Jordan Urbanek to think there was abuse going on, so they lied about taking Clayden to a family member’s house.
The next witness to take the stand was Dr. Sean Herrington, medical director at Salina Regional Health Center. Dr. Herrington told the court that when Clayden came into the the ER around 11:00 a.m. on October 4 he was prone on the EMS cot, intubated, pale, and notable bruising could be seen. Clayden didn’t have a pulse, and could not breathe. Clayden was resuscitated after about 20 minutes of attempting, and was then transferred to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita around 12:06 p.m. where there was a level 1 trauma ER.
After Dr. Herrington’s testimony, Dr. Kimberly Molik took the stand. Dr. Molik was working as the sole paediatric surgeon in state of Kansas at the time at Wesley Medical Center and Via Christi in Wichita. Dr. Molic was considered an expert witness. Dr. Molik received Clayden into the OR at Wesley around 1:00 p.m. on October 4th.
Dr. Molik had done 5-10 surgeries that were similar to Clayden’s injuries, but said they were extremely rare and Clayden’s injuries were worse than anything she had previously seen, or seen since, after averaging at least 600 surgeries a year for the duration of her paediatric surgery practice. Clayden’s condition was considered critical, and required immediate surgery. Dr. Molik found several injuries Clayden’s abdomen after starting surgery, including a hole in the bowel, a tear in the back of the abdomen, and found the abdomen had been sheered off. This caused blood to pool in his abdomen, making it distended. Around 12 inches of intestine were removed and several wounds were closed before Clayden’s vitals became too low for surgery and he was taken to ICU. Dr. Molik also noticed extreme bruises to Clayden’s buttox, where the entirety of his buttox was black from chronic abuse.
Dr. Molik believed that the only way Clayden could have received the injuries was from being abused with substantial force. She also testified that the injuries would have been received the morning of October 4th. She also stated that simple spanking would not have caused the wounds on his buttox, and had the wounds to his abdomen not caused him to pass away, he would have been extremely malformed.
The trial is scheduled to last two more days before the jury will deliberate. The Little Apple Post will continue to monitor the trial, and will update regularly.