Court: College Hill woman accused of decapitating 3-month-old was 'speaking with demons'

Deters: One of the most disturbing cases I've seen

CINCINNATI -- Documents show a College Hill woman accused of beheading her infant child Monday was suffering from post-partum psychosis and was "speaking with demons."

Deasia Watkins, 20, is charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death of 3-month-old Janiyah Watkins, according to police.

"There were multiple stab wounds to the right side of the (baby's) face and head," Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said. "(The baby had) a fractured right arm... and the head was severed from the body."

Sammarco added, "It was a pretty horrific sight."

An official cause of death for Janiyah has not been released. Sammarco said "decapitation" will most likely be included in that report.

Cincinnati police said officers responded to the home of Watkins' aunt in the 5900 block of Waldway Ln. at about 6 a.m. Monday and found the 3-month-old dead inside. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Tuesday that the baby's body was found on the kitchen counter by a 5-year-old relative who was dropped off to wait for his bus to school. 

The knife used on the baby was found placed in the dead baby's hand, Deters said.

Court records show Monday's incident wasn't the first time authorities visited Watkins.

According to a Hamilton County Juvenile Court complaint, police were called to Watkins' apartment in Cheviot on Jan. 25 after complaints of screaming.

When officers arrived, they said she was high on marijuana and "speaking in tongues," according to a police report. Officers said they had to forcefully remove the infant from Watkins' arms because she refused to let go.

Days before Job & Family Services officials took Janiyah away, Watkins was "speaking with demons," according to Hamilton County Juvenile Court records and the Cheviot police report.

View the full Cheviot Police incident report below.

Those court records state Watkins had been diagnosed with post-partum psychosis, which Sammarco said is different than the more common post-partum depression.

"I don't know what (Watkins) was going through, but I'm sure it was incredibly traumatic for her," Sammarco said Tuesday.

Deasia Watkins

Those same documents also state Janiyah was placed in the custody of Job & Family Services on March 6 after a complaint filed by the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office Feb. 27. The complaint stated the infant was dependent and neglected.

Job & Family Services later placed the child with Watkins' aunt, who permitted Watkins to come and live with her one week prior to the infant's death, Deters said.

Deters said Job & Family Services workers "did their job."

"Bottom line: No one has the resources to monitor a mother and a neglected child 24-seven," Deters said.

"This is one of the most disturbing cases I've ever seen in my life," he added.

Sammarco said Monday it was unclear if Watkins acted alone, and said her investigative team will meet over the next several days before releasing more details.

"How many of you have known me to be speechless," she said at Tuesday's press conference. "I was speechless."

Home of Deasia Watkins

Deters said his office is still looking into whether Watkins' aunt will face charges. 

"These are very difficult charges to prosecute," Deters said. "If we charge the aunt, we lose a very valuable witness."

Deters said he isn't ruling anything out.

Jimmie Graham, who lives next door to the home where the infant was found, said he was shocked to hear about the baby's death.

He said he watched the investigation unfold Monday.

"(Watkins) must have been out of her mind," he said. "I can't see how somebody could do something like that."

Authorities said Watkins is currently under guard at Deaconess Hospital, and is refusing to speak to anyone. Her prior criminal record includes only a fine for disorderly conduct associated with a traffic stop.

The Cincinnati Police Department Homicide Unit and the coroner's office are handling the investigation.

WCPO reporters Evan Millward and Ally Kraemer and web editor Holly Pennebaker contributed to this report.


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