My last post was about the police solving a 40-year-old child homicide. The killer was the child’s father. Well, this article is about the police solving a 53-year-old child homicide. The killer was the child’s mother.
The story was that 7-month-old Jeaneen Klokow fell off a couch and smashed her skull and was killed accidentally on March 1, 1957. Oh, and it was her 3-year-old brother’s fault: he distracted their mother at a critical moment, and she looked away from Jeaneen, and as a result didn’t see her fall and didn’t stop her. It was that same brother, James, who in 2008 asked the police to reopen the investigation after watching a TV show about cold cases. I suppose he had had doubts growing in his mind for some time. Like, how high would a couch have to be for a seven-month-old baby to smash her skull just rolling off it onto the floor?
It seems the couch in question was 16 inches high. Not nearly high enough.
Two doctors exhumed and examined the body last year. Their report concluded that the baby died of “abusive head injuries” that resulted in a brain hemorrhage. The medical examiners found the injuries were “not consistent with a 16-inch fall from a davenport [sofa] onto a rug covering a hardwood floor, as was originally reported.”
So Mom, named Ruby Koklow, age 74, is now under arrest for murder. While being questioned by police, she said Jeaneen didn’t fall off the couch and she, Ruby, was “a little rough” with her because both Jeaneen and James were crying and she was frustrated by the noise. (In other words, it’s still James’s fault.) So she “may” have accidentally-on-purpose dropped Jeaneen on the floor.
The complaint goes on to document extensive allegations of abuse by Klokow against her four children. Her son told police he remembered seeing his mother bash his mentally challenged brother’s toes with a hammer.
Another one of Ruby Klokow’s children — a son — also died in infancy. Police have exhumed that child’s body as well. But she has denied killing the boy.
As to whether they can make the charges stick, that’s another thing. They might be able to. There was the famous death in White Bear Lake, after all. But either way, I think it’s great that the cops and prosecutor are trying, no matter how old and cold this case is.