The Lansing couple charged in the death of two-year-old Brandon Kemp is headed to trial. Judge Deluca made that decision Thursday after hearing more emotional testimony against Mercedes Kemp and Marcus Hill. The prosecution also reinstated charges in regards to Brandon's older sister, for child abuse in the first degree. The testimonies are heart breaking for any parent to hear.
"Like when she would cry," said Garry Teske, the foster parent of Tyanna Kemp. "The tears would flow, but there was a very stoic look. She would not, um, no facial expression, no outward crying as the other children."
New details describe what these two young kids faced at home. Tyanna's foster parent described Tyanna saying that when he received her she was afraid of him and especially his wife.
"She was fearful of me to begin with," said Teske. "Until I told her that I was a policeman, after I showed her my badge, and my uniform and pictures and everything else."
Teske said she constantly seeks approval for her actions, like when she potties, or does any spontaneous activity like throw an object in the pool.
"Everything that she would do she would look to either my wife for approval," said Teske.
A CPS employee describes the call the department received.
"That there had been a complaint received that her boyfriend Marcus, at the time we didn't have a last name, had been abusing her and her children and threatening the family, and that [Mercedes Kemp] had been defending him," said Kevin Schultz, a CPS Investigator.
It's unclear who did what to the two kids. Both Kemp and Hill gave police two different statements that contradict their prior statements. What is clear is the kids were exposed to marijuana and beating for not learning how to use the potty.
"They both agreed that Brandon was beaten regularly for peeing himself or wetting the bed," said Elizabeth Reust a detective in the Lansing police. "Mercedes said that Mr. Hill had an issue with the wetting problem. That he would beat Brandon when he would have a potty training accident. And that he would force Brandon to sit on the potty, in his bedroom, (that little plastic potty chair) for hours at a time."
Detective Reust went into great detail concerning the testimony she received from both Hill and Kemp and their subsequent amendments and changes they made in additional statements.
"They intentionally did not open the door when the child had injuries," said Reust. "Specifically they both talked about once he had those big black eyes, that they didn't want anyone to see the black eyes."
Today a family is broken, a two-year-old is dead, and a four-year-old is recovering from abuse.