Father of Baby Chance indicted for first-degree murder

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Joseph Walsh, the father of Chance Walsh, the newborn who was found buried in a remote wooded area in North Port in Oct. 2015, has been indicted on a first-degree felony murder charge, the state Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Walsh initially faced a second-degree murder charge.

The upgraded charge comes less than 24 hours after jailhouse letters to Walsh from his wife, Kristen Bury, were released. The letters detailed her attempt to stop Joseph Walsh from hurting their nine-week-old baby, but said she feared for her life. She also wrote of her love for her husband, saying she wanted to get each other’s name tattooed around their ring fingers as wedding bands.

“We get out, we’re doing it immediately,” she wrote.

Bury struck a plea deal with prosecutors after leading investigators to Chance’s body, located about 13 miles from their North Port home. Initially facing charges of homicide negligent manslaughter, she pleaded no contest to aggravated manslaughter, will serve 25 years in prison and is required to testify against her husband.

Chance sustained serious injuries after a diaper wipe was stuffed down his throat, according to discovery documents released by the state Attorney’s Office in February. The baby was alive afterwards, but died the next day after paramedics were not called.

He was left in his crib for days following his death, then placed in garbage bags for a few more days before being buried, the documents said.

Relatives became suspicious, then notified authorities after the couple told conflicting stories regarding what happened to Chance, who sustained the following injuries:

  • Lower jaw bone was broken at the midline
  • Sternum was cracked, “caused by blunt force trauma”
  • “Greenstick” fracture of the left ribs
  • Some vertebrae was missing

A cause of death was not immediately determined.

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