New charging documents have shed additional light into the killing of an eight-month old child at the hands of a daycare worker. 

On May 23, police were called to the Rocket Tiers Learning Center on South High Street in Baltimore for a report of a baby not breathing. Responding officers found medics performing CPR on eight-month-old Reese Bowman. The baby girl was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local hospital. 

Rocket Tiers Learning Center

Daycare worker Leah Walden, 23, faces first and second degree murder charges as well as other offenses in the infant’s death. According to police, Walden “violently snatched baby Bowman from the crib and slammed her down in an aggressive manner.”

“Reese Bowman in my opinion was tortured,” said Baltimore Police Col. Stanley Branford. “Just evil, what motive could you possibly have to treat a baby that way.”

The daycare is equipped with video cameras, and when its owners reviewed the tapes, they found “disturbing” video of the attack which they provided to police.

According to the charging documents, Walden can be seen in the video snatching Bowman by her arm several times and “swatting” at her. The video also shows Walden placing excessive blankets on Bowman which covered her face; police said Walden “held pillows over the baby’s face while the baby kicked its legs.”

“Leah Walden walked around the infant’s room looking out for other employees during the sequence of events,” according to the charging documents. Walden also walked off camera with Bowman several times, and police said they “can only assume” what Walden may have done during those times.

“It’s giving me cold chills now to even think about it,” said Tim Barth, a witness who watched first responders arrive to the daycare. “It was really sad, they were running back and forth into daycare center. They rushed her as quick as they could into the ambulance. They had her covered up but her little feet were hanging out. It was so sad.”

Walden told police that she fed Bowman, wrapped her up in a blanket, and placed her in the crib for her nap. Walden said she noticed after 45 minutes that the baby wasn’t breathing and contacted authorities. 

Police said they do not know why Walden chose to harm Bowman, and that it appears the baby was awake during the assault. 

“Our family is suffering tremendous pain and wishes to grieve in private,” the Bowman family said in a statement issued to the media. “Our hearts are broken. No family should ever have to experience the loss of a child under any circumstances. We await further information from the unfolding investigation.”

A bio of Walden included on the Rocket Tiers website quotes her as saying “the best part of being a teacher is caring for babies who love me as much as I love them.” The website has since been taken down.

Walden has been working for the childcare center for two years; according to police, there were no previous criminal complaints against the facility. 

A member of the family that owns Rocket Tiers Learning Center told Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ-TV that the owners are “heartbroken,” and that “never in a million years would we have thought” that such an incident would occur.

The Maryland Department of Education put Rocket Tiers under emergency suspension; the center will only be allowed to reopen via a judicial order. In July of last year, the daycare was cited for six violations and only four were corrected by September. 

All childcare employees are subject to mandatory criminal background checks. Police said it will take some time to determine whether Walden passed hers. 

No other incidents of violence connected to Walden or the center have been identified, but police urged parents to contact The Child Abuse Center at 443-984-7378 if they believe an incident may have occurred.