A 3-year-old girl is dead and her parents have been charged in connection with her death.
Mt. Morris Township Police Terence Green said his officers responded to the scene in the 4400 block of N. Elms Road on July 30 following Emma Rose’s death.
"You know it was just shocking, you know," Green said.
Both parents, George and Destiny Bingaman, have been charged with felony murder, first-degree child abuse, torture, and two counts of first-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child.
Green said Emma’s mother called for help and said her child wasn’t breathing about 10:30 a.m.
The girl was taken by ambulance to the hospital and pronounced dead.
While in the ambulance, a police officer noticed suspicious injuries on the child.
"While en route to the hospital the officer who was in the rear of the ambulance noticed injuries that appeared to be suspicious," Green said. "At this time CPR was being conducted."
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said there were “dozens” of injuries on the girl’s body.
Leyton said Emma Rose was born premature at 27 weeks and she had some developmental delays. Investigators believe that may have been a factor in why she was allegedly “singled out for the abuse."
Two other children in the home appeared to be fine and have been placed in temporary foster care.
It’s unclear exactly how long the alleged abuse went on for, according to Leyton. He said she hadn’t received medical care in nearly two years.
Leyton said the girl’s injuries may have been covered up by clothing whenever extended family wanted to see her.
Her passing was especially hard on the officer who responded to the call.
"The officer that observed these injuries, what appear to be injuries, I relieved him of his duties. He's very upset, very emotional about it due to he was assisting the ambulance personnel with CPR," Green said. "But with this department, we take the death of any infant, any child very seriously. We take it personally, especially this year. This is our second infant death that we've labeled as suspicious."
Neighbor Ron Haywood said he often saw the parents playing with their children and never appeared to be anything but a loving family.
"The parents were out there always with their kids, always good parents, they had them out there playing all the time, and in the backyard," Haywood said. "We all watch out for each other here."
George Bingaman appeared in court on Oct. 1 for a preliminary exam. His case was moved forward to a probable cause hearing on all charges.
He is scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 23.
His wife has been remanded to the forensic center for a competency evaluation.
Children targeted for abuse
"Children that have disabilities are five times more likely to be abused," said Suzanne Greenberg, CEO and president of the CAN Council.
Prosecutors said they think development disabilities in Emma played a role in her abuse and murder.
"Dozens of markings all over. I looked at the pictures that the investigators provided and they are horrific," Leyton said.
Greenberg said abusers look for the "easy target."
"Perpetrators of this type of crime are looking for children that are accessible and are easy to victimize," Greenberg said.
She said it's not uncommon for one child to be singled out.
"It could be depending in that child's parent, depending on their special needs," Greenberg said.
Many times, the other children in the home move on with an emotional and physiological burden as well.
"Even though she was the only one abused, those other two kids witnessed and heard their sister being harmed and that is abuse in itself," Greenberg said.
She said you can look out for these signs of abuse.
"It's those other places where children don't normally get bruises like on their thighs or the injury to the stomach area or even the head," Greenberg said.
If you see something that doesn't quite fit, call 911.
"Trust your gut, trust your instincts. If something looks wrong it might be. Let's air on the side of the child," Greenberg said.
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