News 4 Investigates: Parents search for answers after infant child dies while in babysitter care

Byron died at only six weeks old while in the care of a baby sitter in Wentzville. His parents are still searching for answers. Credit: KMOV

WENTZVILLE, Mo. ( -- He was just six weeks old and died at his daycare. But, more than two months later, his parents have no idea what really happened to him.

“No parent should ever have to tell their child goodbye,” said Darrell Matlock, Byron’s father.

Baby Byron’s life had only just begun.

Aside from a broken collarbone at birth, his parents Briana Rager and Darrell Matlock say Byron was a healthy and happy baby. Like many people, though, they faced a difficult choice.

“It's next to impossible to afford one of these full-fledged daycare centers. It's close to 3/4 of my paycheck every week,” said Rager.

They both had to go back to work. So they entrusted Byron to an unlicensed babysitter in Wentzville they’d known for more than a year.

“I felt like I could trust her,” Rager said.

Rager had been back to work only three days when the unthinkable happened.

Darrell and Briana got a call from the babysitter saying Byron was unresponsive. At the hospital, they were told the back of his skull was crushed.

“He never even made it to the helicopter,” Rager said. “You never had to expect to have to hold your child as their leaving you.

Byron died, police say, from blunt force trauma. They were told Byron was in a bouncer seat.

Police say the babysitter first told investigators that another child had fallen on top of the seat smashing Byron’s head on the ground.

When questioned further, police say she changed her story to say she had fallen on the baby.

Briana and Darrell believe it could have been something much worse.

“It looks like it was slamming him up against something and it was repeatedly,” Matlock said.

“Any time that you get inconsistent statements or the story changes, it gives you pause, it makes you take a harder look at it and is there something they're trying to hide here,” said Chief Frisz, with the Wentzville Police Department.

Chief Frisz says they're waiting on the autopsy report, but right now, he says the babysitter's story seems possible. She’s even passed a polygraph test.

He says he feels for the parents, but asks for patience.

“Now a days we are used to instant satisfaction. But in any death, certainly a child's death, we have to be patient and wait for a full medical examiner's report,” he said.

One other challenge is that no other adult, he says, witnessed what happened.

“It's frustrating for us to know what that truth is and to get to the truth,” said Chief Frisz. "We would like to talk to you about what happened to baby Byron?"

The babysitter refused to talk to News 4, who concealed her identity because she hasn't been charged with a crime. News 4 has also since learned the man with her is a sex offender, registered to live at the home.

Briana and Darrell now regret ever putting Byron in the babysitter's care. Now, they’ve only got memories of a life far too short.

“I just want her to be held accountable and I want justice to be served for Byron,” Matlock said.

News 4 called the medical examiner. Officials say autopsies on baby deaths like Byron’s are taking approximately eight to 10 weeks to complete. It’s been two months.

Police Chief Frisz says if you must use an unlicensed daycare, do a background check. Ask for the names of people who will be in the home and run them, too.

You can start by searching the sex offender registry. You can also search local court records. Free services online also help you run background checks.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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