By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A 28-year-old babysitter under investigation in connection with a baby’s death had four of her own children removed from her care and is linked to at least two prior reports of suspected child abuse, according to court filings.
Marissa M. Tietsort of Wausau is jailed on a $250,000 cash bond, an amount ordered Monday by Marathon County Circuit Judge Jill Falstad during an initial appearance on child abuse charges. That case was already pending when a Wausau mother reported her 2-month-old son unresponsive in his child seat shortly after picking him up from Tietsort’s home.
Police believe the boy died while he was in Tietsort’s care. Autopsy results suggest the boy was the victim of a homicide, according to police.
The earlier charges stem from an Aug. 2 report of possible physical abuse to an 11-month-old girl who Tietsort was babysitting. According to the police report, Tietsort told the girl’s parents that the girl fell off a couch while sleeping, which caused “rug burn” to her face. But the child’s father took the girl to the emergency room when he realized her injuries appeared more substantial. Though the child was not seriously wounded, a physician at the hospital told investigators the injuries were not consistent with a fall from a couch, according to the complaint.
As part of the investigation, detectives searched in-house records and discovered Tietsort was also a suspect in a June 2017 child abuse case in which a 3-month-old girl suffered a fractured skull. Tietsort and her boyfriend both denied harming the child but later refused to answer phone calls from detectives, according to the police report. Official charges were never filed.
Court filings also note that Tietsort has five children including an infant; four of her older children were previously removed from her care. A child abuse restraining order was filed against Tietsort in 2010 after allegations surfaced that she left her own child in a hot car on multiple occasions and stole prescription drugs from a friend.
Homicide charges against Tietsort are expected to be forwarded to the Marathon County District Attorney upon completion of the investigation, which is ongoing.
Police have not released the name of the child who died, but friends and family members are circulating a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses. Click here for more information.