A jury has found 38-year-old Kyron Dale Grow guilty of murder, assault and child abuse following a seven-day jury trial. Grow faces a possible sentence of life in prison on July 17.
Gila County Chief Deputy County Attorney Shawn C. Fuller said that on March 26, 2013 Grow called 9-1-1 and reported that his live-in girlfriend’s three-year-old son had “banged his head twice” and was throwing up and laying on the floor. EMTs from the Tri-City Fire District discovered the child lying unconscious on the floor and rushed the child to Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center. The child was airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he later died from obvious head trauma and other injuries consistent with child abuse.
Grow and the child’s mother, Marcelina Rich, initially insisted the child was injured two weeks earlier, first when falling off the front steps and then during a camping trip. Grow insisted that on the morning of the 26th, the child collapsed on the floor and was throwing up blood prior to the EMTs arriving. Security footage and timecards from Rich’s workplace established that she was at work when the child collapsed. Grow and Rich’s stories as to where the child previously fell were inconsistent and neither could adequately explain how the child received the other injuries on his body. Investigators discovered that Grow later changed his story that the child fell while camping, and told a neighbor that the child fell on a rock behind his house.
Investigators with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Child Welfare Investigations dug up the rock behind Grow’s house and sent it to the Department of Public Safety Crime Lab for analysis. Investigators also cut out the carpet in Grow’s living room and sent it to the crime lab. The lab determined that there was no blood on the carpet and that the victim’s DNA was not located on the rock pointed out by Grow.
An autopsy was conducted at the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner, and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Johnston determined that the child’s liver was almost split in half and that the cause of his death was complications of acute abdominal trauma. He also determined that the manner of death was homicide. At trial, Dr. Johnston testified that the injury suffered was consistent with an adult punching a child in the stomach.
The jury deliberated for less than four hours before reaching guilty verdicts as to all charges in June. Grow will be sentenced on July 17, 2014, at 1 pm, in Globe, before Judge Monica L. Stauffer. Grow faces a mandatory life sentence. The child’s mother, Marcelina Rich, previously plead guilty to child abuse and hindering prosecution. Her sentencing has not been set.