Just to prove mothers can be just as lethal

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.

Police solve 40-year-old child murder case

I found this article where it talks about how the police solved — or closed, depending on how you define it — a nearly 40-year-old case involving the death of an 18-month-old boy. Bradley Cuturia’s father, Thomas, was dying of cancer last year when the cops tracked him down and, from his hospital bed, persuaded him to confess to killing the child. He was very weak at the time and most of his confession consisted of nod-or-shake replies, or very short verbal answers, to questions. But it was a confession, and the police have enough evidence now to make a case against Thomas for murder. Except that he has died since then. He was 60.

Bradley’s mother, Cheryl, had always thought Thomas did something to Bradley, because she’d seen Thomas hit Bradley before when he cried. And he was in Thomas’s care that day when Thomas brought him to the hospital, critically injured, with the old “he accidentally tripped and fell and bumped his head and somehow wound up with this terrible skull fracture and all those bruises” story. Doctors back in 1971 weren’t trained on how to recognize child abuse cases, and they didn’t realize Bradley had been abused before, because Thomas brought him to a different hospital this time. So when Bradley died two days later, his death was written off as accidental. Cheryl and Thomas had some more kids and then she took the kids and left him. She said he was abusive to her as well.

For what it’s worth, Thomas was serving in Vietnam when Bradley was born, and when he came back he was only 18 and had no parenting experience at all, and Bradley didn’t think much of this stranger and cried and screamed all the time whenever he was around. Not the best introduction between father and son. But that’s no excuse to murder a toddler and lie about it for four decades.

Even though the police can’t file charges in this case, I’m sure Cheryl Cuturia feels much better that the police established the truth of the matter and everyone knows Thomas for the kind of man he really was: a baby-killer.