BILLINGS — A two year old Cody girl who was hospitalized in Denver has died from injuries she sustained in an alleged case of child abuse.
The girl’s mother, Rebecca Holtsman, told MTN News on Monday that her daughter, Paisleigh Williams, died on Sunday. “She was such a sweet little girl. She was so outgoing and so happy. She’s so loving, she was well-loved by so many people. She had an impact on so many different lives,” Holtsman said over the phone.
Paisleigh’s father, Moshe Williams, 30, and his girlfriend, Carolyn Aune, 28, are being held on $1 million bond each at the Park County Detention Center in Cody. They were arrested on Wednesday, March 31, and booked on charges of felony aggravated child abuse.
Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield told MTN News the case is being investigated to determine any possible additional charges.
Court documents state the investigation began on Saturday, March 27, when Paisleigh was taken to the Cody Regional Health Emergency Department by her father. Medical staff and officers noted she was unresponsive and had several bruises on her body, including her face, back, head, and legs. She was also intubated, and medical staff decided she needed to be flown to Children’s Hospital Colorado for treatment of internal injuries.
When questioned about the bruises and injuries, both Williams and Aune denied abusing the toddler. They told detectives in the days leading up to her visit to the emergency room Paisleigh was constantly throwing up and they thought it might be a stomach bug. They also said the injuries were possibly caused by falling off her toddler bed, playing with her 14-month old brother, and one of Aune’s three children who sleepwalks.
Once at the hospital in Denver, it was determined Paisleigh had two complete separations of her bowel, a fractured rib, and fractured C7 vertebrae. Her right leg had to be amputated due to lack of circulation when she went into cardiac arrest during her flight to Denver.
In their opinion, the Child Protection Team at Children’s Hospital Colorado believes Paisleigh’s injuries happened over time and she was a victim of child abuse. In the medical staff's opinion, the bowel detachment was the result of severe blunt force trauma and was not caused by an accident, court documents state.
Investigating officers with the Cody Police Department requested the other four children living with Williams and Aune be taken into protective custody, undergo medical exams, and be placed in temporary foster care.
Paisleigh’s mother, who lives in Billings, traveled to Denver to be with her daughter. “She knows I love her. I always will and never stop,” Holtsman said.
Court documents state Holtsman and Williams are divorced. She said she was in the process of seeking legal services to gain custody.
“Hug your babies tight! You never know when the last day with them will be!! Cherish every moment!” Holtsman wrote.
Williams and Aune are scheduled to make their next court appearance for the child abuse charges on April 12 in Park County Circuit Court.