SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A North Port couple accused of murdering their 9-week-old infant son put the baby’s body in his crib and left it to decompose, according to documents released Tuesday. The parents later wrapped the body in garbage bags and placed it in a closet in their home, according to the documents.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office released a probable cause affidavit on Tuesday, shortly after Chance Walsh’s father Joseph Walsh was extradited to Sarasota County and booked into jail there.
Deputies say Joseph Walsh is responsible for murdering his son. According to the affidavit, Joseph Walsh killed Chance on September 16th at the North Port home. The documents state that Walsh was having an argument with his wife, Kristen Bury. During the argument, Walsh allegedly struck Chance repeatedly. At one point, Kristen told Joseph, “You are going to break his [expletive] neck.”
Joseph told Kristen he was going to bash Chance’s head into the ground during the argument. According to the affidavit, Bury never called 911 and didn’t take any measures to save the child.
Walsh said in an interview that Bury told him she did not want to call 911 because “she did not want to lose both people she loves in the same day.”
The documents later explain that after Chance died, he was placed in a crib and left to decompose. The smell was so overwhelming that Joseph wrapped Chance in garbage bags and placed the remains in a closet.
On September 24th, just before daylight, the pair drove to Elliot Court in North Port. They later retrieved Chance’s body and buried him there.
The couple then left Florida and headed north. They told detectives they were going to start a new life somewhere else. They were arrested after getting into a car accident in Hardeeville, South Carolina.
On October 15th, Kristen Bury directed detectives to a grave site near Elliot Court. Chance’s decomposed body was found covered only with a diaper.
Joseph Walsh and Kristen Bury were each charged with 1st degree felony murder.
Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, released the following statement about the tragic death of baby Chance:
“The murder of Chance Walsh is absolutely heartbreaking. Although DCF did not have any prior investigation involving Chance, we have had multiple past interactions with Joseph Walsh, including the removal of seven children from his custody.
In the wake of this tragedy, DCF has immediately begun an internal quality assurance review. The review will include all the interactions that Joseph Walsh and Kristen Bury have had with the agency to determine what, in addition to the previous removal of all children in Mr. Walsh’s custody, could have been done to prevent this tragedy.”
Chance’s grandmother, Sally Susino, posted the following statement on Facebook:
“It has been a horrible day all around. So sad my little angel suffered by the hands of the people that should have loved him the most. He is with his Italian ancestors now, being showered with love, kisses, and pinches on the cheeks in God’s beautiful kingdom. I will see you again my little prince.. Until then, Your loving grandma and family.”
In another post, Susino expressed her hope that this story makes a difference to prevent similar crimes. “We hope to have Chance’s name help bring about some well needed changes in our systems,” she wrote.