Babies' Remains Found In Coolers
Babies' Remains Found In CoolersFather Charged After Remains Of Infants Found In Rural Harrisonville
January 23, 2009
HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- A Missouri man who authorities said fathered four children with a young female relative has been charged with killing one of the babies and hiding the body of another, prosecutors announced Friday.Danial Rinehart, 47, was arrested after the remains of two infants were found in separate sealed coolers on the rural Harrisonville property where the family once lived, authorities said.Rinehart was charged Friday with second-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child, statutory rape, two counts of abandonment of a corpse and two other criminal counts."They were in sealed containers and they were partially decomposed or to a big degree decomposed," said Cass County Sheriff Dwight Diehl. "We have information that's been gathered that makes us believe that at least one of the children was alive for some period of time and was sick for some period of time and that they failed to get medical attention for that child."Rinehart began abusing the relative in 2003, when she was 13, a probable cause statement alleges
.The relative told authorities she gave birth to four of Rinehart's children between 2004 and 2006, an account backed up by her sister, the document states.Rinehart admitted to authorities that he knew for sure at least two of the children were his, the document states.Three of the four children have died. A surviving boy, now 3, is in protective custody, authorities said.Prosecutors also charged Rinehart's wife, Linda Gail Rinehart, 48, of Harrisonville, Mo., with endangering the welfare of the child."I'm heartbroken," said Dolores Rinehart, Danial Rinehart's mother. "I can't. I can't handle it. I don't know what's going to happen."Theresa Sims, Danial Rinehart's niece, said "No, no one knew anything until it was actually said.
The relative's sister first told authorities about the babies on Oct. 3.She said two of the deceased children were buried in a garage on the property in rural Harrisonville, the document states.On Oct. 15, investigators used cadaver dogs from the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department to search the garage. The dogs reacted to an area under a work bench, but a dig in that area yielded nothing.More than three months later, on Jan. 1, the new owner of the home told authorities that he'd found what he thought were human remains in a cooler. He'd also found a second cooler, the document states.The remains of an infant boy dressed in blue sweatpants, a blue top and a dark-colored stocking cap were found in one of the coolers, and the remains of an infant wrapped in a blanket were found in the second cooler, the document states.
First Child Born, Died In Oklahoma
Investigators interviewed the relative on Jan. 22, and she said she'd been having sex with Danial Rinehart since she was 13 and that all four of her children were his, the document states.She told investigators that her first child was born on March 24, 2004, in Oklahoma, when she was 15. The baby died on July 8, 2004. The teen wrapped the girl in a blanket, then she and her sisters and Linda Rinehart buried the baby in a box with silicone around the lid in Oklahoma, according to the probable cause statement.
Second Child Remains Alive
The girl moved to rural Harrisonville in 2005. There, on Aug. 2, 2005, she gave birth to her second child in a truck on the property, the document states.Danial and Linda Rinehart helped her deliver the baby, and Linda Rinehart cut the umbilical cord, the girl told authorities.The child, a boy, is still alive and was in protective custody on Friday, prosecutors said.
Third Child Dies Of Pneumonia
On Nov. 17, 2006, the relative gave birth to her third child. Linda Rinehart directed Danial Rinehart as he assisted her in delivering the baby, and he cut the umbilical cord, the document states.That baby, a boy, became ill, and despite being given over-the-counter medications, died of pneumonia on Feb. 28, 2007, according to the probable cause statement.No one ever sought medical care for the baby, the document states.When he died, the teen said she put him in a dark blue box with a light blue blanket wrapped around him along with a teddy bear and a matchbox car, according to the probable cause statement.He was dressed in dark blue pants with a blue turtleneck, white socks and a stocking cap, the document states.She and Danial Rinehart then dug a hole in the dirt garage floor and buried the boy. Then when she learned investigators were coming to the house, she dug the baby up and put him under a tarp behind an RV in another garage, the document states.
Fourth Child Stillborn
On April 2, 2008, the girl gave birth to her fourth child in a camper on the rural Harrisonville property with the help of Danial Rinehart.Danial Rinehart told her the baby was stillborn, so she wrapped the baby in a blanket and put the baby in a maroon cooler. She and Danial Rinehart sealed the cooler with silicone, and put it behind the RV with the other infant's remains, according to the probable cause statement.Danial Rinehart told investigators he tried to give the stillborn baby CPR, but neither he nor the girl sought medical help for it.