KENOSHA — Hunter Jones was reportedly on the phone with a 911 dispatcher for four minutes before he revealed that the toddler he was caring for was unconscious and not breathing.
“I have a toddler that I was babysitting and he was in a playpen,” Jones initially told the dispatcher on March 27, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday. “This child has some sort of mental issue. His mother, we babysit for her frequently, and he throws tantrums. He threw a tantrum. ... He jumped out of the playpen and hit his head and stuff like that. ... He has a history of this; we have messages, you know, like talking to her about it.”
Only when asked if he needed an ambulance four minutes into the call did Jones tell the dispatcher the boy was not breathing. “Yeah, well the thing is, he is not responsive right now.”
When Kenosha Fire Department paramedics got to the house, 2-year-old Matthew Bolinski was dead. According to the criminal complaint, the toddler was cool to the touch and appeared to have been dead for about an hour.
Jones, 23, of Kenosha was charged Wednesday with first-degree reckless homicide for the toddler’s death. The death has been under investigation by Kenosha Police detectives since they were called to Jones’ home in the 2300 block of Lincoln Road on the day the toddler died. Jones was arrested Tuesday.
In-home day care
According to the criminal complaint:
Jones’ wife, Harmony Jones, operated an in-home day care from the couple’s home. In social media posts, Harmony Jones said she was focused on providing day care help for single mothers, and cared for children on nights and weekends as well as typical business hours.
On the day Bolinksi died, his mother had dropped him off at 2 p.m. There were two other day care charges at the house along with the Jones’ own children, a toddler and an 8-month-old.
At about 5 p.m., Harmony Jones went out to pick up dinner, leaving Hunter Jones alone with the children for about 45 minutes.
Jones told investigators he put Bolinski down for a nap in a playpen at that time, and that the toddler at first climbed out out of the playpen, fell and hit his head, then went to sleep when Jones put him back in the playpen. Jones reportedly told investigators later, when his wife was home, that he went to check on the toddler and found he was wrapped in a sheet and not breathing.
“He was asked why he did not tell the 911 dispatcher that (the toddler) was dead, and he replied because he did not want to think that he was dead,” the complaint states.
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The complaint states that an autopsy found the cause of death for Bolinski was “undetermined.”
However, the doctor who performed the autopsy for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner, which is under contract to handle autopsies for Kenosha County, said the toddler had visible bruises and scrapes on his forehead, cheeks, behind his ear, on his neck and his mouth. The doctor counted 18 bruises on the toddler’s face, three in his mouth, and at least 10 scrapes on his face and mouth. The doctor reported that while the listed cause of death was undetermined, the “likely cause of death is asphyxia” and that the manner of death was homicide.
The complaint states that a second doctor, Dr. Robert Corliss, an associate professor and autopsy director in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, reviewed the autopsy report and photos and gave the professional opinion that “the cause of (Bolinski’s) death is homicidal asphyxia and the manner of death is homicide.”
Up to 15 children
According to the criminal complaint, Jones regularly worked at his job with UPS from 3:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and that he typically slept five hours a night.
He told investigators that his wife cared for up to 12 to 15 children throughout the day and night and said his wife started caring for Bolinski full time a week before his death.
Jones told investigators the toddler would be dropped off by his mother in the afternoon and picked up at 1-2 a.m. Jones told investigators the toddler was acting normally but seemed “a little crankier” because he had not had an afternoon nap.
Social media post
In a social media post in the weeks after the toddler’s death, Harmony Jones said the parents of children she cared for were supporting her and asking her to continue to care for their children, but that she did not feel emotionally able to.
She was critical of people she said were making “hateful, wrong accusations.”
“None of you knew that I screamed for God to make this baby be OK while giving him CPR over and over and over. None of you know that I dropped to my knees screaming when an officer came out of my house to tell me he was no longer with us,” she wrote.
“None of you know that I had police officers who had tears in their eyes watching me pace back and forth and scream at them to go back inside and try again.
“None of you know that I refused to leave my house for hours after he was pronounced dead because I did not want to leave him there alone with no one he knew around him,” she wrote.