Accused Day Care Worker "Loved Kids"

Twin of killed toddler was in room when brother died

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Melissa Calusinski -- the day care aide charged with murdering 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan -- often spoke of her love for children, friends and neighbors said Monday.

    It's a tragic story that just seems to get more and more so.

    A 16-month-old toddler -- Benjamin Kingan -- dies after a frustrated day care worker throws him to the ground. Police investigating the case say that the little boy picked himself up from the floor, grabbed his blanket and pacifier and crawled to his favorite bouncy chair to die. 

    Further information has emerged since the incident Wednesday at the Minee-Subee Day Care Center in Lincolnshire.

    At first, Benjamin's grieving parents, who feared that the boy had died from some genetic disorder, rushed their surviving two children to a doctor to be checked out.

    But, not long after, police charged a 22-year-old Carpentersville woman with murder in the case.  Melissa Calusinski is being held on a $5 million bond after telling police that she slammed the child on the ground after having "issues" with the children in the room.

    "It is even more tragic than we originally thought," Lincolnshire Police Chief Randy Melvin told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Our initial investigation seemed to indicate that it was natural causes, or possibly something congenital. Further investigation revealed ... the infant had suffered a severe fracture to the top of the head."

    Adding to the trauma for the Kingan family, the Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Benjamin's twin sister, Emily, was in the room at the day care center on the day he died.

    "With visitation for the toddler set for today, his parents must not only grapple with losing a child but with how to support a 'twinless twin,'" Rosalind Rossi wrote in the paper.

    The paper also reported Tuesday that those close to Calusinski say she loved children and that she is a good person.  A neighbor said the young woman "has a lot of patience."

    "She's really good with kids. She's baby-sat for years," Linda Gutierrez, a neighbor in northwest suburban Carpentersville, said.

    A friend who has known the accused since they were in high school together Barrington High said Calusinski recently told her that she loved children. 

    Usheka Field, who said she saw Calusinski a couple of weeks ago, said her friend was looking for a new job "to better herself," but that she said she loved her job at the day care center.

    A neighbor told the Sun-Times that Calusinski lives with her parents and is the youngest of five children. She has two sisters and two brothers, the neighbor said.

    Visitation for Benjamin Kingan will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Kolssak Funeral Home in Wheeling, the Sun-Times reported.

    The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.