Babysitter charged with murder

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) - A community is in shock as a three-month-old is dead and his baby sitter is behind bars.

The woman said she shook the infant because he was crying, investigators said. It happened her home in the 1000 block of Windridge Drive in Spotsylvania County.

Larisa Thomas, 27, called 911 to report a child wasn't breathing on Tuesday.

"When deputies arrived on scene the baby was unresponsive. They immediately started CPR on the baby until medical crews got there," said First Sgt. Liz Scott of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.

Three-month-old Elijah Lynch Hobbs died Wednesday at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond. He was bleeding from the brain. Injuries the medical examiner deemed consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Investigators say Thomas confessed to shaking Elijah after she'd only been watching him for about 30 minutes. Elijah's two year old brother and Thomas' children were also home during the assault.

"It's heartbreaking for the officers who responded it's heartbreaking for the community and obviously for this poor family and the suspect's children," said Scott.

Neighbors say Thomas had four children ranging in age from 8 to 20 months. They say she hadn't lived in the neighborhood long and kept to herself. Thomas' children are now staying with family members, who tried to get in the house to retrieve the children's clothes and toys.

"If you're in a situation where you become emotional or you feel like you can't handle a particular child call a neighbor, call a friend, call a relative, call the sheriff's office," said Scott.

Thomas is charged with felony child neglect and second degree murder. She's being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond.

Its apparent children were the center of this Spotsylvania county home.

"They've always had kids play outside in their backyard and front yard and that's about it," Street.

Now the overturned toys in the front yard are just reminders of several overturned lives.

"It's shocking, very shocking... Too close to home," said neighbor Donna Street.

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