DECATUR – A judge has ruled in favor of a state motion to analyze biological material collected from the body of a 4-year-old girl who was beaten to death last summer, for possible use in a sexual abuse case.
Amarrah Reynolds died Aug. 31 as a result of blunt force injuries to her head which were inflicted in her home, according to autopsy and police reports.
Her father, 29-year-old Darrell A. Reynolds, is facing two counts of first-degree murder. Shortly after she was pronounced dead at Decatur Memorial Hospital, he confessed to police that he killed Amarrah. He is being held in jail on $2 million bond.
Amarrah's mother, Dalvon Taylor, is charged with one felony count of endangering the life or health of a child.
The hearing was held to consider the state's motion to allow the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Laboratory to test biological material found on the girl's body. The DNA standards of two male suspects were sent to the lab for comparison.
Because of the limited amount of biological material preserved on swabs, a ruling was necessary, since testing will consume the available material, eliminating any possibility of additional testing.
The state's motion was filed in relation to Taylor's endangerment case and the Reynolds murder case. In the Reynolds case, no hearing was necessary, because the defense attorney, William L. Vig of Springfield, agreed to allow the material to be consumed.
“My client wanted it to be tested,” Vig said, adding that it was important to note that another male was also identified as a suspect in a possible sex abuse case.
Taylor was arrested the day her daughter died and booked into the jail. She was released on bond in December, after her bond was reduced from $500,000 to $100,000.
Taylor sat at the defense table with her attorney, Arthur Sutton of Matteson.
Arguing for the motion, First Assistant State's Attorney Nichole Kroncke said swabs from the victim's body were tested by the crime lab and indicated the presence of biological materials, which indicated possible sexual abuse.
“Why is this information relevant in this case?” Griffith asked.
“She may have well known that (Amarrah) was being sexually abused,” Kroncke said.
“It goes more to what Mr. Reynolds allegedly did than what Ms. Taylor had knowledge of,” Griffith said.
Sutton objected to the motion. He said he did not understand how a ruling to approve the motion would assist the crime lab.
Griffith then handed down his ruling.
“The charge indicates that the defendant, a parent, caused or permitted the life-threatening circumstances, by placing her or allowing her to be in a physically abusive environment, and that the defendant allowed this to occur,” Griffith said.