Detective: Woman wanted to go home after confession

A detective testified Friday that shortly after Melissa Calusinski told him she had thrown a 16-month-old boy to the floor at a day care center, the Carpentersville woman said she wanted to go home to her parents.

Calusinski, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the January 2009 death of Benjamin Kingan, but her lawyers claim she was illegally arrested by detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force assigned to the case.

The lawyers claim their client was improperly taken from the former Mini Subee in the Park day care center in Lincolnshire and was illegally held by police who questioned her for 10 hours Jan. 16, 2009.

But detective Sean Curran testified Friday that Calusinski was in an unlocked interview room at the Lake Zurich police department the entire time she was questioned and was never told she was not free to leave before her confession.

In an earlier court session, prosecutors introduced the form Calusinski signed acknowledging she understood she did not have to answer the investigators’ questions and had the right to have a lawyer present.

Curran said Calusinski did not ask to call anyone during the session, and told him and another detective three stories about what happened to the Deerfield toddler.

Calusinski first said Benjamin was sitting on the floor at the center where she worked as a teacher’s aide and violently threw himself backward, striking his head on the floor.

She also told him another Mini Subee employee had witnessed the incident, Curran said, but detectives who questioned that employee said the woman denied seeing Benjamin doing what Calusinski had described.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Paul DeLuca, Curran testified he was told a third Mini Subee employee had told investigators Benjamin threw himself backward three times on the day he died.

Calusinski also told him she had dropped Benjamin from a distance of a few inches and he struck his head

on the back of a chair, Curran said, but he was told a doctor informed other police that Benjamin’s injuries could not have been caused that way.

Finally, as shown on a videotaped played during earlier sessions of the hearing before Lake County Associate Judge Christopher Stride, Calusinski says she was holding Benjamin near her chest and threw him to the ground when she became upset with other children in the room.

After saying that, and before she was told she would be charged with murder in the case, Curran said, Calusinski asked him if she could leave.

“She said ‘I just want to go home and see my parents and my puppy,’” Curran said.

The hearing is expected to continue next week. Calusinski is held on $5 million bond and a trial date has not been set.