Reports detail case against Scott - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Reports detail case against Scott

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Posted: Sunday, January 16, 2005 6:57 am | Updated: 9:01 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Lurline Shumway thinks often of the 8-month-old grandson she lost 15 years ago. His first birthday. His first day of kindergarten. His first car.

But she also thinks about the four daughters of the babysitter accused of suffocating him. The milestones they might miss sharing with Amy Lynn Scott should she be convicted.

"I’m very sad because of her children and her brothers and sisters," the 65-year-old Scottsdale resident said. "Now they have to go through all of this pain, and I’m sure she’s a different person than she was back then."

What’s been done can’t be undone, she said.

"I made peace with this a long time ago," Shumway said. "I figured out that I didn’t have to judge her, that she’d be taken care of by a higher authority."

Shumway’s grandson, Zachary David Mann, died Sept. 21, 1989, eight months, to the day, after he was born.

Authorities said the boy was the second of three babies who died within a year’s time while in Scott’s care.

In November, Scott was indicted in their deaths.

Scott faces first-degree murder charges in Zachary’s death and in the deaths of 2-month-old Shauna Cunnington and 4-month-old Jordan Michael Whitmer. She is being held without bail at Maricopa County’s Madison Street Jail in Phoenix.

Three hundred pages of police reports released Thursday reveal why detectives came to be suspicious of Scott and how they put the case against her together.

Scott’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

Tempe firefighters were called to Jordan’s Tempe home about 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 25, 1989. His mother said she found the baby lifeless in his crib minutes after getting home from work. Scott, then 21, had told her she’d laid the baby down for a nap around 4 p.m.

Detectives quickly learned Jordan wasn’t the first baby to die under Scott’s care.

Zachary had died the month before.

Shauna had died that February after she developed breathing problems while with Scott at a Phoenix park.

On Dec. 29, 1989, a Tempe detective told Scott he suspected she’d killed the babies. He said he had medical proof Jordan didn’t die in his crib at home.

Scott broke down and admitted the baby died elsewhere, a report states.

She told police she had laid Jordan down at her home at 12:30 p.m. and didn’t check on him until 3:45 p.m., when she found him stiff and blue.

"At that point, she got scared and did not want anyone to think that she had done something to Jordan Whitmer," a police report states.

"She said that she did not call the paramedics because she knew that there was nothing that anyone could do to revive Jordan Whitmer at this point."

Scott said she put Jordan in the front seat of her car and drove him and his 3-yearold brother Cory to the Whitmer home.

When their mother came home, Scott said, she simply told her the baby was sleeping.

Scott said she didn’t think she’d done anything to any of the babies.

Fifteen years later, in January 2004, detectives questioned her again about the death.

"I asked her if there was a possibility that she could have done something to Jordan to cause his death and Amy responded that she did not know. Amy said that she was not saying ‘No,’ but that she wasn’t saying ‘Yes,’ either," detective Tom Magazzeni wrote in his report. "Amy said ‘It scares me that there possibly was.’ ‘’

Scott told Magazzeni she’s forgotten about much of that time period, saying it was a difficult time for her because of a miscarriage of twins and a marriage she described as being physically, sexually and emotionally abusive.

What happened back then, Scott said, has "been locked away for a lot of years."

In the years in between the deaths and her arrest, Scott gave birth to four daughters, got divorced and moved to Georgia.

The detectives repeatedly interviewed the babies’ parents and sought the help of medical experts.

In April 1997, seven forensic pathologists agreed the babies were likely killed.

In June 2000, an Arizona State University sociologist conducted a probability study and told detectives there was basically zero chance that the babies died of sudden infant death syndrome or that their deaths were unrelated.

In December 2002, Maricopa County Medical Examiner Philip Keen ruled that Jordan likely died of compression asphyxia, that Zachary’s death was suggestive of suffocation and that suffocation could not be ruled out as the cause of Shauna’s death.

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