By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A 28-year-old woman facing homicide charges in connection with the death of a 2-month-old child was ordered held on a $500,000 cash bond during an initial appearance Friday in Marathon County Circuit Court.
Marissa M. Tietsort, of Wausau, was already in custody on unrelated charges of child abuse when the first-degree intentional homicide charge was filed. She faces life in prison if she is convicted.
An investigation began Oct. 18, when emergency crews were called to the Northway Coin Laundry in the 900 block of N. Third Avenue in Wausau for a report of a baby who was unresponsive. Police say the infant’s mother had just returned from picking the baby up from Tietsort’s residence, in the 3600 block of N. Sixth Street in Wausau. When the mother went to remove the infant from his car seat, she discovered he was not breathing and called 911. The baby boy was declared dead at the scene.
Autopsy results revealed the child died of blunt force head injuries and had a fractured tailbone that was broken and displaced, a sign that significant force was used, prosecutors said. Tietsort denied killing the boy but admitted he died in her care. Tietsort allegedly knew the child was dead when she turned him over to his mother, according to court filings.
At about 4:15 a.m. Oct. 19, police located Tietsort at The Plaza Hotel on 17 Avenue. She was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant as the investigation continued into the death.
A search of court records show Tietsort has a criminal history dating back to 2013, with past convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia, receiving stolen property, possession of controlled substances, resisting or obstructing an officer and bail jumping. In addition, a child abuse restraining order was filed against Tietsort in June 2010.
The child abuse charges that resulted in Tietsort’s initial arrest 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.
Circuit Judge Jill Falstad on Friday ordered Tietsort, who is pregnant, not to have any contact with children. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 12.