A young couple in Wayne County pleaded not guilty Monday to murder charges stemming from the death of an 18-month-old child.
Kayla Lord, 20, and Jared Futrell, 19, were arraigned in Wayne District Court. The two were arrested July 28 in the death of Staten Stephenson, Lord's son.
According to a criminal complaint filed in district court, the unresponsive toddler was brought to a Wayne County emergency room July 16 "with evidence of blunt-force trauma."
Staten had a distended stomach and bruising to the head, chest and limbs.
He was flown to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he underwent several emergency surgeries, but he did not regain consciousness. Life support was turned off July 26, the document said.
An autopsy revealed blunt-force trauma including a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma — a collection of blood in the skull. However, the official cause of death has not been released. Fayette County Deputy Coroner Adrienne Shelby said autopsy findings would not be available "for some time."
According to the complaint, Monticello police interviewed Lord and Futrell multiple times, and neither gave an explanation for the cause of the child's injuries. Both told police "there were no accidents" that could account for them.
The child had been in Lord and Futrell's custody for six days before being brought to the emergency room. "No person other than Kayla Lord and Jared Futrell (had) an opportunity to inflict injuries," the report said.
Lord and Futrell lived together just outside Monticello in Wayne County, said Detective Derek Lester, who is working the case. He said that Lord was the child's mother but that Futrell was not the father.
The two pleaded not guilty, and Judge Scarlett Latham appointed the Department of Public Advocacy to represent them. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.