Three years ago, 4-year-old Kailee Bunrout died with severe internal injuries and a bloodshot eye. On Friday, her mother’s boyfriend was arrested and accused of strangling the child.
Marquis Lamont Thomas, 32, of Hatfield, was charged with first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault, child endangerment, and related crimes, according to court records.
Kailee was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in September 2016, about a month before her death. At the hospital, child abuse specialists and doctors took note of a battery of injuries, including burst blood vessels in her eyes, a bruise under her left eye, two healing rib fractures, and scars on her torso.
Authorities said they reopened the investigation of Kailee’s death after her 8-year-old brother showed up at the same hospital in September with strikingly similar injuries: a bruise under his right eye and bleeding in both eyes.
In February, the boy told investigators that Thomas had repeatedly choked him, wrapping his arm around the child’s neck and pushing his face into a couch cushion. Thomas was charged that month with aggravated assault, strangulation, and child endangerment.
“In these cases, when they are hurt by someone they know and trust, it’s very difficult for them to disclose that someone they love has hurt them,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said Friday. “Thankfully, the boy bravely shared that information and Marquis Thomas is now being held accountable for the death of 4-year-old Kailee, and the physical abuse endured by her brother."
On Oct. 18, 2016, police arrived at the Forge Gate Apartment Homes in Lansdale after they received a 911 call from Kailee’s mother, Pailenn Bunrout, around 7:50 a.m. When they made their way into a back bedroom in the second-floor apartment, authorities said, they saw Thomas performing CPR on Kailee, who had no pulse.
Medics took the child to Abington Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 8:33 a.m.
In an interview that day, Thomas told police he woke up around 7:45 a.m. and went into the bedroom Kailee shared with her brother, where he found her in bed, cold to the touch.
Thomas texted Bunrout, who was at work, writing, "K.B. won’t wake up.” Authorities said Bunrout rushed home in minutes and dialed 911 after finding that Thomas hadn’t yet called for help.
On Friday, Thomas, who has a daughter with Bunrout, remained in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. He had been there since February on the assault charges for Kailee’s brother. He was offered no bail.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 8 before Judge Edward Levine.