Mich. Mom Accused of Beating Daughter, 8, to Death, Allegedly Gave Bizarre Reason Why She Did It

The 8-year-old daughter of Chelsea Duperon allegedly lay in bed for days wearing a diaper because of her injuries until she died, authorities said

<p>Michigan State Police</p> Chelsea Duperon

Michigan State Police

Chelsea Duperon

Content warning: The following article contains disturbing descriptions of child abuse.

A Michigan mother is facing murder charges after being accused of fatally beating her 8-year-old daughter, then claiming otherworldly forces led her to harm the child, authorities allege.

On Saturday at 5:19 a.m., Wayne police responded to a call from a Phyllis Street residence about a child who wasn’t breathing, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

Officers found the child unresponsive in a bedroom and suffering from multiple injuries to her head and neck, the prosecutor's office said.

The child, identified as Lyla Cassel, was found wearing a diaper, ABC7 Detroit reports. The child’s mother, Chelsea Renee Duperon, 30, allegedly said she put a diaper on her daughter because she had trouble getting to the bathroom because of her injuries, police said, according to ABC 7 Detroit.

The child was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Duperon was arrested and charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

“It is alleged that Defendant Duperon fatally assaulted the child,” the prosecuting attorney’s office said in the statement.

The medical examiner said Lyla died from blunt force trauma to the head, ABC 7 Detroit reports.

"The sheer brutality that innocent 8-year-old Lyla suffered on March 13 of 2024 is really like nothing I've ever seen in my five years of handling child abuse cases," Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Erin Wilmoth said in court, Fox 2 Detroit reports.

Police believe Duperon assaulted the child on March 13, ClickOnDetroit reports.

But no one called 911 until three days later, on Saturday, when the child was already dead, Wilmouth said, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

The “massive amount of swelling to her head and her face” left the child “completely unrecognizable," Wilmoth said.

The “massive, massive blunt force trauma to the head and face” that Lyla suffered “ultimately caused excessive brain swelling,” which led to her death, Wilmoth said.

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Lyla “could have been saved” if Duperon or another adult who was allegedly present had called 911, investigators said, Wilmouth told the court.

Instead, "Lyla was just placed in a bed,” she said. “Her mother went out to the store to get diapers because this child could not go to the bathroom — diapers, heating pads, Vaseline as well as some liquor for herself — while her daughter is lying in bed dying a slow death," Wilmouth alleged.

Initially, Duperon allegedly told the officers that her daughter fell down the stairs, police said, ABC7 Detroit reports.

She then allegedly told a different story, saying a “spirit or ghost” led her to hurt Lyla after the child started “acting crazy,” Sgt. Jason Walters said, Fox 2 Detroit reports.

"Duperon was talking about how she was possessed,” Walters alleged.

When asked how she hurt her right hand and arm, Duperon "mumbled out loud, 'This sounds crazy, but there's bad spirits,'" Walters said, Fox 2 Detroit reports. "Duperon stated ‘there was a lady and she came out of nowhere.'"

Duperon allegedly told officers she didn’t seek medical attention for Lyla because she thought the child was getting better, ABC 7 reports.

On Tuesday, Duperon appeared in court where she pleaded not guilty. She was ordered held without bond.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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