A death investigation is underway after the mother of Chance Walsh, convicted in the 9-week-old infant’s murder, was found dead in her jail cell in an apparent suicide.
Chance Walsh was found buried in a shallow grave near Elliott Court in North Port last October after his mother, Kristen Bury, 33, directed investigators to the wooded area where she and the boy’s father, Joseph Walsh, had buried him weeks before.
Detectives say that on Sept. 17, 2015, Chance was beaten and then had a baby wipe stuffed down his throat by his father. Bury removed the wipe but did not call 911 despite the boy gasping for air. Chance died hours later and was left in his crib for several days to decompose.
Days later when Bury began to complain about the smell, she said Walsh wrapped the boy’s body in several garbage bags and hid the body in a closet. Then before leaving town, the couple buried him.
Bury accepted a plea deal in January for her role in Chance’s death and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. She was returned to the Sarasota County jail recently in order to appear in court in a case unrelated to the murder.
At 12:59 a.m. Saturday, deputies at the jail found Bury unresponsive in her cell, and they tried to resuscitate her, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. She was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead.
“The initial investigation indicates a suicide,” Lt. Joe Giasone stated in a news release. “The Medical Examiner’s Office is also investigating the death.”
Bury, initially charged with principal to first-degree murder, pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child by culpable negligence. Her plea agreement stipulated that she had to testify against Walsh.
Chance was only wearing a diaper when the sheriff’s forensics unit excavated his body from the makeshift grave. In the grave, they also found a blue surgical-type glove resembling gloves worn by the infant’s father, detectives said at the time.
The search for Chance was prompted when the boy’s grandmother contacted the sheriff’s office on Oct. 4, 2015, saying she had not seen the boy since Sept. 9. On Sept. 27, Walsh and Bury had left Florida to start a new life together, they later told investigators.
They were apprehended after they got into a crash in Hardeeville, S.C. Initially, they each gave conflicting stories about infant Chance’s whereabouts.
Walsh was indicted on first-degree murder by a grand jury in March. He is set to stand trial in June 2017.