‘Very wasted’ mother accused in death of 6-month-old daughter heads to trial

Ryan Boldrey rboldrey@mlive.com
5 Min Read

KALAMAZOO, MI — A Kalamazoo mother charged in the smothering death of her 6-month-old daughter is one step closer to standing trial.

Ladesha Ann Powe, 29, waived her right to a preliminary examination on Wednesday, April 17, in Kalamazoo County District Court and was bound over to circuit court, where she is expected to stand trial.

RELATED: Kalamazoo parents charged with killing baby, who was smothered in couch cushions

Powe and the child’s father, Jose Antonio Roldan Jr., 40, were both arrested April 2 and arraigned on April 3.

Each were charged with involuntary manslaughter/homicide and second-degree child abuse for their alleged roles in the Dec. 13, 2023, death of 6-month-old Faith Hope Roldan. The manslaughter charges carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and the child abuse charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Roldan is scheduled to attend a probable cause conference on Tuesday, April 23, and undergo a preliminary examination April 30.

Both parents were issued a $100,000 cash or surety bond by Kalamazoo County District Judge Richard Santoni. Neither has posted bond, according to court records, so they remain in jail. If either defendant posts bond, they will not be allowed to visit their other three children without the presence of child protective services, Santoni said.

According to the prosecution, the entire incident was captured on video by a camera in the family’s living room in the 800 block of Davis Street in the Vine neighborhood.

Kalamazoo public safety officers responded to the home around 8:18 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, on the report of a child not breathing. According to video obtained by the prosecution, the 300-pound Roldan had allowed Faith to suffocate underneath him while the small child was wedged between couch cushions.

Both defendants admitted to officers that they consumed large amounts of alcohol in the hours that led up to the incident, according to court documents. Powe was holding the child before she fell asleep on the couch, at which point the baby fell out of her arms, landing behind Roldan, video evidence showed.

“Jose eventually readjusts himself and the baby becomes completely smothered, kicking (her) feet, crying, until Faith becomes lifeless,” court documents state.

Video captured Powe waking up, searching for Faith, giving up and going to the bedroom where she slept for the rest of the night, until Roldan woke her in the morning.

“Faith’s father, Jose Roldan, reported that he had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room with Faith next to him,” Roldan and Powe’s probable cause affidavits state. “Jose said that when he woke up, he found Faith wedged between the seat and back cushions; when he tried to wake her up, he discovered that she was not breathing. Jose then woke up Faith’s mother, Ladesha Powe and she called 911.”

Emergency personnel arrived at the home and began lifesaving measures on 6-month-old Faith. The infant was then taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital by Life EMS.

Faith was pronounced dead at 9:07 a.m. at the hospital, per court documents.

Roldan told officers he had nine or 10 tall boy cans of beer the night before and was intoxicated, as was Powe. He told officers they started drinking around 6 p.m. on Dec. 12, and that he last looked at the clock at 3 a.m. The two had also smoked a joint together that night, he told officers.

Roldan told officers he slept on the couch that night.

Powe told officers she drank about five tallboys of Twisted Tea. She said she had been frustrated with Roldan for watching pornography and decided to drink with him that night in an effort to forget what he had done. She also drank some of his beers, she told police.

The mother told officers that she does not remember much of the night because she was “a lot far gone, wasted maybe, like very, very wasted,” according to court documents.

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