Why it took 10 years for woman to be charged with killing her daughter remains a mystery

Dominique Brewer briefly appeared before a judge again on Wednesday, to face a murder charge for killing her 4-year-old daughter almost a decade ago.

But why Brewer has finally been charged now, remains a mystery.

By the time deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrived at Brewer’s home on Aug. 14, 2009, 4-year-old Kelis Rucker was already cold to the touch. She was rushed to local hospital where she was declared dead, even though her body temperature and other signs indicated that she had been dead for a while.

Brewer gave five different and conflicting explanations for her daughter’s fatal injuries in the hours following her death. The one consistency that Brewer held was that she was home alone with the child at the time.

“Dominique’s first statement was that she swears on her life she didn’t hurt her baby and she doesn’t want us to think she’s a murderer,” the initial detective wrote in a capias request recommending the mother be charged in 2009 with child neglect. “At this point there had not been any conversation with Dominique indicating the death was not a mere accident.”

Brewer was arrested Monday, charged with murder and first appeared before a judge on Tuesday afternoon. But after a public defender raised questions about whether there was probable cause to charge her or hold her without bond, claiming the case was based on circumstantial evidence from 10 years ago, Manatee County Judge Mark Singer ordered that the case be brought back in front on him on Wednesday afternoon.

Kelis Brewer Provided photo

Singer had told attorneys on both sides that he would take the case at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday after all other first appearance hearings were complete to allow time for the issues raised to be addressed and reports or testimony from expert witnesses that case was relying on to be presented.

Brewer made her brief appearance before Singer earlier than indicated, however, and the facts of the case were not discussed. Instead the State Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office stipulated to the court that they had agreed on a recommendation for bond and conditions for her release.

Singer set bond at $250,000 and ordered Brewer into the Supervised Release Program with the condition that she wear an ankle monitor, as both sides had stipulated to.

Dominique Brewer appears in court via video feed from the Manatee County Jail where she was given $250,000 bond for the charge of killing her daughter, 4-year-old Kelis Rucker, in 2009. Tiffany Tompkins

Even if Brewer were able to post the bond, she currently has a hold because of an out-of-county warrant.

A supplemental probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday didn’t reveal any new evidence the sheriff’s office has found to charge Brewer with killing her daughter. Instead, the report rehashed the same facts that were detailed by the initial detective assigned the death case in 2009 in the capias request.

The capias request recommending a charge of child neglect was sent to the State Attorney’s Office in 2009, but prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges.

State Attorney Ed Brodsky said Wednesday he could not discuss the decision not to file charges in 2009 since there is now a pending case against Brewer.

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