Phoenix, AZ – Three days after a three-year-old girl was brutally beaten by her mother’s boyfriend, the child was removed from life support, her family said.
Morgan Koepp, 3, died on Wednesday.
Sidney Landers, 33, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse on Monday. Additional charges are expected.
According to a GoFundMe page created to help with medical expenses, Koepp’s mother, Brianna Williams, left the toddler with Landers and his two young sons on Sunday while she was out.
Williams said she attempted to contact Landers by phone throughout the day, but never reached him.
When Landers and Koepp returned to the residence at approximately 8:30 p.m., Williams noticed that the little girl’s face was swollen and bruised, KTLA reported.
“My daughter questioned him,” Koepp’s grandfather, Tim Williams told KSAZ. “He got irate with her. She didn’t want to get in a confrontation with him, so she waited until he fell asleep and then she brought her to the hospital.”
But Koepp says that’s not what happened, and told Heavy, “I attempted to leave the apartment but Morgan got sick all over both of us. I showered her and I then laid down to calm her down and make sure she didn’t throw up again due to not wanting her choking on it while driving. “
Medical personnel determined that Koepp had “Multiple bruises on the front and back of her torso,” as well as “multiple broken ribs,” KTVK reported.
The toddler was soon moved to intensive care.
“She had cardiac arrest,” Williams told KSAZ. “They had to bring her back. She went into another cardiac arrest. They had to put a machine on her to keep her alive.”
Koepp underwent multiple surgeries, including one to remove a flesh-eating bacteria, KTLA reported.
“It’s a necrotizing soft tissue infection that opened up when she got hit or punched or whatever she did, and it spread throughout her body,” Williams said.
Koepp was pronounced dead on Wednesday, KTVK reported.
Just hours later, Williams wrote the following letter to her child on the family’s fundraising page:
“To my beautiful baby girl who taught me so much in these last 3 years. I saw you fighting and fighting as hard as you could. I saw how much pain you were in and I am so sorry you had to endure such a tragedy… I hate that I will never be able to watch you grow and see you again or hold you again until I one day get to heaven. But I am able to keep going because I know you are now resting in a better place, pain free able to run and play with the rest of the angels…I know I can always find you in my heart and when I close my eyes. Watch over me and give god a hug for me for bringing you home so you aren’t suffering anymore. I love you…”
According to court documents, Landers told police he was “frustrated” because the child “had several accidents in her pants and would not sit still when he cleaned her,” KTVK reported.
“The defendant stated he held his hand over the victim’s mouth when she was screaming during her diaper change,” an officer’s investigative report read. “The defendant stated he had to use force to hold the victim to change her diaper …. The defendant stated he did not mean to cause the injuries but was frustrated.”
Investigators said that when they went to arrest Landers, he attempted to flee.
Landers is being held on $150,000 bond, but additional charges are expected.
“Phoenix Police will be recommending Homicide charges against the suspect,” Sergeant Vince Lewis told KTVK on Wednesday evening.
A status conference has been scheduled for Dec. 18, and a preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 21.