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Home Crime A woman who killed a 3-year-old by forcing wet wipes down his throat has been sentenced, and the victim's family expressed their pain in court

A woman who killed a 3-year-old by forcing wet wipes down his throat has been sentenced, and the victim's family expressed their pain in court


A woman in Pennsylvania was sentenced on Monday to 40 to 80 years in prison for choking a 3-year-old boy and putting baby wipes so deep down his throat that doctors needed forceps to remove them.

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Chelsea Cooley and Travis Young

Chelsea Cooley, left, admitted to killing a 3-year-old Travis Young Jr., right, by stuffing baby wipes down his throat on May 28, 2022, in Bedford County, Penn. (Cooley: Bedford County Jail; Travis: Obituary)

A woman in Pennsylvania was given a 40 to 80-year prison term for choking and forcing baby wipes down the throat of a 3-year-old boy, leading to his death.

Chelsea R. Cooley, 33, pleaded guilty to killing Travis Young Jr. by strangling him and obstructing his airway with baby wipes, while she was looking after him and other children at her boyfriend's house.

According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, a neighbor heard screaming and a female voice say “shut up” on May 28, 2022, when Travis was hurt. Cooley took a photo of the unconscious boy at 8:41 p.m. but waited until 9:07 p.m. to call 911, and was hesitant to help the child as instructed by the dispatcher.

At her sentencing, Cooley's lawyer asked for her to leave during victim impact statements, but the judge refused.

Judge Travis Livengood insisted that she stay, as per the Bedford Gazette.

Prosecutors read a statement from Travis Young Sr., the boy’s father, who was at work when his son died. He said Cooley betrayed his trust and he could never forgive her.

“The [worst] is slowly forgetting the sound of his voice,” he reportedly said. “I hope he haunts you every single second of your life.”

Travis’ mother, Rachel Reuter, also spoke, saying the boy they called “Junior” was her “little best friend.”

“I lost the honor of being able to watch him grow,” she reportedly said.

Despite her request to leave, Judge Livengood mentioned that “she had no remorse whatsoever,” according to the Gazette.

He told Cooley, “You have earned every single day of the 40 to 80 years you are going to get.”

According to Attorney General Michelle Henry, the facts of the case were “horrific.”

Henry stated, “This defendant was responsible for caring for this child, and instead she did the unthinkable. She brutally murdered him, a defenseless and innocent three-year-old child.”

As Law&Crime previously reported, troopers with the Pennsylvania State Police in Bedford at approximately 9:16 p.m. on May 28, 2022, responded to the home and the hospital after it was reported that the child had choked on baby wipes.

After arriving at UPMC Bedford, the child was subsequently airlifted to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Travis succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at approximately 4 p.m. on May 29, 2022.

A medical examiner conducted an autopsy and determined that the child’s manner of death was a homicide, caused by manual strangulation and asphyxiation due to airway obstruction, according to the police report.

In a conversation with people investigating at the hospital that night, a document showing an arrest obtained by local NBC affiliate WJAC said, Cooley stressed many times that Travis had behavior problems. She supposedly said he had thrown “a temper tantrum” and didn't want to eat his lunch earlier in the day. Cooley supposedly said that she put the boy down to sleep in his room at about 7:30 p.m., then checked on him about an hour later. She said the boy stopped breathing and had “something stuck in his throat, which seemed to be a wet wipe,” the report added.

However, authorities stated that the only wet wipes in the residence were stored in the bathroom, not in the boy’s bedroom.

EMS staff reportedly explained that medics had to take out four wet wipes from the victim’s throat, with some of them reportedly “soiled with blood.” Noting that the four wipes were tightly “packed together,” a medic reportedly told investigators that he “did not believe that the child would have been able to put the wipes down his own throat.”

The victim also displayed “signs of petechia” on his neck — which are spots that appear as a result of bleeding — and “extensive bruising” on his chest and neck. Medics also reportedly found feces on one of the victim’s hands but noted that he was wearing a clean diaper.

During a subsequent interview, Cooley supposedly repeated that the victim had been misbehaving, telling police he needed to be put in a “group home.” When asked why she took as long as she did to call for help after finding the boy not breathing, Cooley reportedly said that her phone was “acting up.” The interviewing trooper reportedly noted that Cooley had sustained what appeared to be bite marks on her hands.

Investigators searched Cooley’s residence and said they found a number of baby wipes that were supposedly covered in feces and others covered in blood.

As mentioned in his obituary, Travis enjoyed spending time with his family.

“Travis enjoyed chocolate, and liked playing outside with his cars, cuddling while watching TV; especially his favorite cartoon P.J. Masks,” the obit said.

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