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Before she died, Kinsley Kinner had a nightmare

Posted: 12:03 PM, May 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-11 03:58:24Z
Before she died, Kinsley Kinner had a nightmare
Before she died, Kinsley Kinner had a nightmare
Before she died, Kinsley Kinner had a nightmare

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Kinsley Kinner had a nightmare the night before she died, her mother told a psychologist.

The 2-year-old girl woke up, "screaming and crying," Rebekah Kinner said. It wasn't unusual for Kinsley to have nightmares, so Rebekah's boyfriend, Bradley Young, took Kinsley into the living room to watch cartoons, her mother said. Once the toddler dozed off, Rebekah said she went back to bed.

"The next thing I know I wake up and he's just standing there holding her with the lights on," Rebekah told the psychologist. She said she noticed Kinsley's eyes were open, but she wasn't blinking.

"She was breathing, but it was like very, very shallow...I knew something was wrong," Rebekah said.

Rebekah and Kinsley Kinner

Young claimed Kinsley had another nightmare and woke up screaming again, Rebekah said.

Less than 48 hours later, Kinsley died at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

As Butler County's prosecutor prepares for a murder trial against Young, a newly released psychological evaluation of Rebekah Kinner reveals, in detail, her account of what happened in the weeks and days leading up to her daughter's death.

Rebekah, 23, underwent the evaluation, consisting of three separate sessions, after she pleaded guilty to three charges in connection with her daughter's death: involuntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse and endangering children.

 

While Butler County law enforcement officials have alleged Young beat Kinsley to death and that Rebekah did nothing to stop it, she's denied that version of events. Instead, she's insisted to the psychologist, Dr. Robert Kurzhals, that she thought Young was perhaps disciplining Kinsley a bit too harshly.

She said Young hurt her, too -- and she was frightened of him.

Young is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children. He's pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys are trying to get his case dismissed.

'I Always Stayed To Myself'

Rebekah told the psychologist she was the sixth of her mother's eight children. Her parents were never married, she said, and "my mom gave me to my grandparents and said she didn't want us."

Sometimes, though, Rebekah and her sister went and stayed with her mother, who she described as a drug and alcohol abuser.

"She neglected them...they wore dirty clothes to school and stunk," Rebekah's grandmother, Nina Kinner, said of those visits. "They had lice...the girls never had anything to eat."

Rebekah's estranged mother told her she "should burn in hell...she should have killed me (had an abortion)," the psychologist wrote.

RELATED: Rebekah's mom denies the allegations

Rebekah's father was a truck driver, she said, and she only saw him a few days a month. "I would get so excited to see him, but it was like I was invisible to him."

Rebekah Kinner in court for sentencing.

She reported being bullied as a child; when she was 13, she said she was beaten and raped by a neighbor, something her grandmother corroborated. Rebekah also told the psychologist she had no friends in school.

"Everybody always thought I was weird because I didn't talk," she said. "I always stayed to myself."

Rebekah also said she was ridiculed for being too skinny.

"Ms. Kinner's grandmother reported that Ms. Kinner used to come home from school crying because the other children made fun of her for not having a mother," the psychologist wrote.

After the neighbor reportedly attacked her, Rebekah said the other kids told her "he should have killed me when he had the chance."

Still, she graduated from Madison High School, was never held back and never was in special education classes. Rebekah told the psychologist that the longest job she ever had was working two-and-a-half years as a cashier for a fast-food restaurant; before Kinsley's death, she'd last worked in September as a gas station cashier. She also had worked as a state-tested nurse's aide and a mail carrier.

Her only mental health treatment came after the neighbor attacked her, she said, and she stopped going because she "felt judged." At the Butler County Jail, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and unspecified mood disorder. They initially prescribed Prozac for her, then added two more medications: Prazosin and Lamictal.

Before her December arrest, Rebekah had not gotten in trouble with the law.

'Little Things Started Happening'

Rebekah told the psychologist she started dating Young in August. Soon, she said, he insisted she and Kinsley live with him.

"Brad said he didn't know who I was hanging out with or what I was doing...to me I just thought maybe he wanted to protect me," she said.

But she said "little things started happening." When they had some friends over for a bonfire, Young came up behind her when she was walking to the bathroom, she said.

"(He) put his arm around my neck and held a pocket knife to my stomach and he said, 'What would you do if I was to stab you right now' and he started laughing," Rebekah said.

Rebekah was pregnant at the time and said she didn't think it was funny. She said he apologized and told her "it was just a joke" and "not to be so serious."

Eventually, she said, Young took her car keys and never let her go anywhere unless he told her "'to go to the store or to get cigarettes."

"He would always call me when I was gone because he would know how long it took," Rebekah said.

Young didn't seem angry, Rebekah told the psychologist, and she thought he was checking on her to be sure she was OK.

Kinsley Kinner

Young "slowly started taking control" of Kinsley, too, Rebekah said.

"I wasn't allowed to pick out her outfits...I wasn't allowed to discipline her," she said. "He told me he always wanted a little girl and he loved her like his own and he wanted to help me."

Over time, though, Rebekah said she started noticing how Young disciplined Kinsley. He'd hit a scab on the girl's lip, "'not hard...but he would hit that when he felt like she was talking back or if she would cry," she said.

He'd also pull down her diaper and smack her butt, Rebekah said.

"I told him she was just a baby and didn't know right from wrong and not to be so hard on her and he didn't like that," Rebekah said, according to the psychologist's report. "He told me he was punishing her the way his dad did him, and he said it taught him how to respect people."

When Rebekah confronted Young about it, she said, "he would pick me up by the throat and throw me on the bed and said I would just have to get over it."

WCPO has reached out to Young's attorneys for comment.

'I Believed Him'

Rebekah said around Kinsley's second birthday, in October, Young started holding the child above his head when she'd cry or wake up in the middle of the night. She also said he'd shake the child, yelling "stop being such a crybaby b****."

"I would ask him to stop," Rebekah told the psychologist, "and I would feel scared, and part of me wanted to jump up and grab her out of his hands and just take off with her and just leave, but everything just goes black...my body wants to move, but I am frozen...I can't move."

Rebekah said she also found a bump in Kinsley's head and "'little red dots on her neck," which Young said were from a fender bender. About two days before Kinsley died, Rebekah said she saw Young spank the girl and grab her face.

And the day before Kinsley died, while they were getting ready to have dinner with Rebekah's grandparents, Young hit Kinsley's head when he was trying to get her to sit still so he could put on her shoes, Rebekah said. She also noticed a "huge red spot" near Kinsley's temple, she said.

"He told me he was washing her hair and rinsing and she freaked out and jumped forward and hit her head on the faucet," Rebekah said. "I believed him."

Bradley Young in court with his attorneys, Frank Schiavone III and Frank Shiavone IV

Rebekah claimed Young abused her, too, once punching her in the back while she was pregnant "to the extent she experienced a bloody discharge and she was subsequently placed on bed rest," the psychologist wrote. He also punched her legs and pulled her around by the hair, she said.

And Young "had a thing with biting me," Rebekah said.

"He would just reach over and bite my arm or bite my face," she told the psychologist. "I could be just sitting there."

She never called the police, she said, because Young made her feel trapped.

"He told me, 'There's nowhere you can go or nowhere you can hide where I can't find you. I was trained to kill in the military and I can make it look like an accident,'" Rebekah said.

Rebekah told the psychologist she didn't "really think it was abuse," but she was scared.

"I kept telling myself things would change or maybe I was doing stuff to make him mad, and if I could just figure out what it was, he would stop and he would apologize and tell me he loved me or buy me whatever...I wanted or go out to eat," she said.

'What The Hell Did You Do, Brad?'

The night she found Kinsley unresponsive, Rebekah said Young initially took the phone from her when she tried to call 911.

An operator tried to guide her through CPR, she said, "but I was freaking out...her lips turned blue."

(Warning: Some readers may find this 911 call upsetting or disturbing.)

Young tried to perform CPR, she said.

"I was hoping he would be able to save her,'" Rebekah told the psychologist. At one point, Rebekah said, Young's roommate asked, "What the hell did you do, Brad?"

Kinsley was declared brain dead after her mother and Young were arrested. She was pronounced dead Dec. 3 at Children's Hospital; her family chose for her to become an organ donor.

 

On Thursday, Rebekah was sentenced to 11 years in prison; she'd faced the possibility of up to 25 years.

Family members asked for leniency, saying that Rebekah "would not hurt Kinsley in any way."

"Kinsley was so loved by Bekah. She was the center of Bekah's life," Nina Kinner said at Thursday's hearing.

While incarcerated in the Butler County Jail, Rebekah gave birth to a baby boy, named Wyatt. That's also the name of a young boy who received Kinsley's lungs shortly after she died.

Immature, Depressed and Tearful

Kurzhals wrote that he found Rebekah reluctant to admit minor flaws in herself, while "potentially exaggerating other problems." She "consistently endorsed items that portray her in an especially negative or pathological manner," he wrote.

"Such test results often reflect a 'cry for help,'" he added. Still, Kurzhals wrote he can't be certain that's an accurate picture of her status. He did find, however, that she's likely suffering from major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and maladaptive personality traits, and he recommended she get treatment in prison.

"Her prognosis is considered to be guarded," he wrote.

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WCPO's Ashley Zilka contributed to this report.