Cop: Lincolnshire day care employee’s stories verified

Nothing Melissa Calusinski said during a Jan. 16, 2009 interview with police regarding the death of an 18-month-old Deerfield boy was taken at face value, a detective testified Wednesday.

Sean Curran, a Highland Park detective assigned to the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, testified he left “four or five times” during Calusinski’s questioning to check what she was saying with other officials.

Curran said he had phone conversations with officers interviewing other witnesses who Calusinski made references to in her statements, in an attempt to verify what she was saying.

Calusinski, 24, of Carpentersville, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Benjamin Kingan at the former Minee Subee in the Park day care center in Lincolnshire. Her attorneys are trying to keep her confession to the crime from being used against her in Lake County circuit court.

Curran was one of two police officers who questioned Calusinski two days after the boy’s death. She was one of three teacher’s aides who came in contact with Benjamin on the day of his death, Curran said, and she was taken to the Lake Zurich police station to be questioned about what happened.

Her defense attorney’s claim police tricked Calusinski into admitting she hurled the boy to the ground when she became angry at other children in the room, and took advantage of her low IQ and inexperience in dealing with police.

But Curran identified the form Calusinski is shown on videotape signing, acknowledging she has the right to remain silent and can talk to a lawyer before answering any questions.

She spoke to Curran and another officer for nearly 10 hours, all of it recorded on videotape, and is shown offering several explanations for how the boy came to be injured.

Curran testified he was in contact with a deputy coroner, a pathologist and an evidence technician from the task force who were at the coroner’s office in Waukegan.

He said he spoke with that group to test information Calusinski had given him, including one claim she had made that the boy had bumped his head on the back of a chair shortly before he died.

After a phone discussion with the officials at the coroner’s office, Curran is shown on the videotape telling Calusinski the scenario she offered had been judged insufficient to have caused Benjamin’s injuries.

The videotape shows Curran and investigator George Filenko both left the room after Calusinski says she threw the boy to the floor and he struck the back of his head.

As the tape continues to roll, Curran returns to the room and Calusinski tells him she “just wants to go home and spend time with my parents and my puppy.”

Calusinski has been held on $5 million bond ever since.