Metro-East News

Medical examiner says head injury caused Belleville toddler’s death

Kane Friess-Wylie
Kane Friess-Wylie

The St. Louis medical examiner says a head injury is what caused a Belleville toddler’s April death, which is under investigation by police.

Kane Friess-Wylie, 2, died at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital on April 13.

Although his death was caused by a head injury, St. Louis City Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham has not officially ruled on the boy’s manner of death. The possible rulings on manner of death can include accident or homicide.

“We are awaiting further detailed microscopic examination of samples of brain tissue, as well as detailed investigative information,” Graham wrote in response to a reporter’s emailed questions.

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case. Although police initially were holding a “person of interest,” the person later was released, and no one has been charged.

Kane suffered an injury on April 12 around 9:30 p.m. at 2622 Eastview Drive near Belleville, police said. The child’s mother and boyfriend, who is not Kane’s father, took the toddler to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, but the boy’s condition required that he be flown to Cardinal Glennon, where he died of his injury. Hospital personnel contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which called the sheriff’s department.

Candice Cherry, a neighbor who lived above the family, told a Belleville News-Democrat reporter that she heard a hammering sound from the lower apartment a day before the child died.

Private funeral services were held for the toddler last month.

“Kane’s eyes and smile would light up the room wherever he would go,” Kane’s obituary stated. “He loved ‘George’ from the shows ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Curious George.’ Kane adored his older brother, who was his partner in crime. He was affectionately known by his late great-grandmother as ‘Patachou.’”

The family requested donations to the St. Clair County Child Abuse/Neglect Council in lieu of flowers.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer