CONTINUING COVERAGE: Day 2 of Mallett manslaughter trial yields more testimony

Published 2:01 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Proceedings resumed Tuesday in Vicksburg in the trial of Brooke Mallett, the mother accused of manslaughter and culpable negligence in the 2023 death of her three-year-old son Kaiden Mallet. She is also charged with two counts of child neglect.

Mallet’s charges stem from an April incident last year when both Kaiden and a five-year-old sibling went missing from her home and, according to law enforcement at the time, were gone for hours without the mother or her boyfriend noticing. Kaiden Mallet was later found dead in a pond near Memory Lane.

Mallet and then-boyfriend John Duke Walker were initially charged with murder before a Grand Jury knocked the charges down to manslaughter.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The first witness to testify for the prosecution Tuesday, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey, confirmed he pronounced the child dead at 12:29 p.m. on April 21, 2023. He clarified that, as coroner, he does not determine the cause of death, only that the person is deceased; however, an autopsy to determine the cause of death was requested.

Warren County 911 Director of Operations Robert Rufus detailed the call log that occurred on the same day. He noted the first call about an unattended child came in at 9:30 a.m., with dispatches following that updating the center on the status of the situation. At 10:47 a.m., the five-year-old child’s parent had been located. At 11:14 a.m., they were notified a second child was missing and at 12:12 p.m., they were notified the second child had been found and was unresponsive.

Warren County sheriff’s deputies testified that, upon arriving at the home where Mallett and the children were staying, they found the house to be in extremely poor condition, with clothing, toys and dirty dishes strewn about. There was no power or water to the home and drug paraphernalia and a loaded gun were also found in the house, according to testimony. Because there was an outstanding warrant for Mallett’s arrest, she was taken into custody. Walker was also arrested on suspicion of child neglect.

On Monday, Lynne Cox testified the older sibling involved in the case appeared in her home on the morning of April 21 and described his condition as dirty and disheveled.

Extensive testimony was given Tuesday by Shirlene Hill, of Child Protective Services. She was called to Cox’s home and reported the child was indeed dirty, barefoot and covered in bug bites. Hill later received authority to take the child to Merit Health River Region emergency room in Vicksburg. A subsequent urine sample from the child tested positive for methamphetamines and amphetamines, testimony revealed.

Hill also testified regarding two previous CPS reports involving Mallett in Copiah County. In one of those reports, dated March, 2023, Kaiden Mallett tested positive for methamphetamines. Based on this finding, the mother was ordered to submit to a drug test immediately in Copiah County, but did not appear, resulting in a warrant being issued for her arrest.

Doctors from both River Region and University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson testified to the older child’s state of health, concurring with Hill’s assessment of the child’s physical appearance. Their testimony outlined the treatment that was provided, their concerns of child neglect and the positive drug screen.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace testified that he responded to the initial call on Old Highway 27 when the older child was found. Pace also led the search for the younger child, eventually finding him floating in a pond near Memory Lane. Pace retrieved the child from the water and began CPR, continuing until paramedics arrived and declared the child deceased, he said in testimony.

The prosecution will continue to call additional witnesses for the third day of trial Wednesday.