The relationship between a new partner and a stepchild can be fraught with transitional challenges and mistrust.
While some of these relationships work out with some stepchildren pointing out to their stepmothers and fathers as having a much better influence on their lives than their biological ones, eight-year-old Rica Roundtree is now part of the unlucky ones who have died before their time because of the cruelty of a stepmother.
Cynthia Baker, 41, is accused of kicking her boyfriend’s daughter in the stomach so hard that her intestines ripped leading to her death, The Sun reported.
Baker was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury and could now face life in prison at her sentencing hearing on February 3, 2020. She was also convicted of aggravated battery, three counts of domestic battery and endangering the life of a child.
Baker was found to have subjected the little girl to cruel acts with forensic pathologist Dr. John Denton identifying 50 marks on her body.
Roundtree is said to have suffered intestinal perforation for up to five days before she was rushed to a hospital, where she died on January 26.
After Baker’s arrest in Normal, Illinois, detectives found video footage of three attacks she had inflicted upon the child during 2018 on a phone.
Proving to be wicked yet dumb, law enforcement agents found videos of other attacks on the girl including hitting her head against walls, kneeing her in the back and more.
Assistant State Attorney Erika Reynolds told the court: “For most, it’s unthinkable but for Rica, it was normal. In (Baker’s home), Rica was treated as less than as this defendant’s punching bag and her pain served as entertainment for the entire family. Rica’s life didn’t matter to this defendant, but it matters in this courtroom.”
Judge Casey Costigan stated that her crimes were “accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty.”
Rica’s parents, Richard Rountree and Ann Simmons, were due to testify during the trial but were not called up. This was decided after the state allegedly discovered that Baker had written a letter to Roundtree telling him to “take the blame for everything” during his court appearance.
Prior to Rica’s death, the prosecution said that Baker had fooled child services by explaining away black eyes and swollen lips.
According to text messages shared with the court, Baker and Rountree complained to each other about Rica and wanted her to live somewhere else.
Rica was ill for five days before she died, vomiting at dinner and almost falling down the stairs because she couldn’t see clearly. A witness said Rica’s hair was unkempt and her clothes weren’t as nice as those of Baker’s other daughter.
Why Richard Rountree allowed his daughter to be treated shabbily and why mother Ann Simmons didn’t come for her daughter are questions which have popped up needing answers.