(CBS) — A daycare worker convicted of killing a toddler claims her innocence despite her own confession, so what did happen?
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reveals important information that could shed new light on the death of Ben Kingan.
Behind barbed wires in central Illinois’ Logan Correctional, a light Melissa Calusinski never expected.
A bleak chapter began in the interrogation room. Calusinski, with a low verbal IQ, never asked for a lawyer.
The daycare worker was asked about little Ben Kingan, a toddler who died on her watch.
Calusinski says she was putting Ben down, close to the ground on his tiptoes.
“I thought he was going to stand,” she told the investigator.
She said he fell and hit his head. New coroner Dr. Tom Rudd told Edwards Wednesday a simple bump of his head, like that, “was likely the terminal event. An accident.”
An accident because he already had a pre-existing injury Rudd determined.
After dozens of denials, six hours into the interrogation, Calusinski confessed to Detective George Filenko.
Filenko headed the confounding investigation into the suicide of Fox Lake Lieutenant G.I. Joe Gliniewicz, an investigation in which he lambasted coroner Rudd, for floating the specter of suicide, later found true.
He was already at odds with Rudd, for changing the manner of death in the Kingan case from homicide to undetermined in a case where Filenko won a confession.
“You can’t weasel out of everything by manipulating facts,” Filenko told Calusinski during the interrogation.
If Calusinski saw Filenko today, she says she would tell him, “He made a mistake.”
And science may agree.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for March. So far, the state’s attorney’s office has fought Calusinski’s efforts for a new trial.
The state’s attorney’s office, Detective Filenko, and Ben Kingan’s family had “no comment.”