Infant death investigation closed; no charges filed

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BRATTLEBORO — Following a year-long investigation into the death of an infant in Brattleboro on Jan. 7, 2018, the Windham County State's Attorney's Office issued a press release stating it will not file criminal charges in the baby's death.

Max Lucien Hughey was born at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 2, 2017, to Meredith Hughey and Nathaniel Kautz. He was 1 month, 5 days old when he died in the emergency room at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. In April 2018, the Vermont Medical Examiner's Office released a death certificate stating the cause and manner of the baby's death was "undetermined."

Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver said her office suspected a crime had been committed in the death of the baby and had identified people of interest. Shriver declined to divulge the reasons why her office believed a crime had been committed and declined to identify the people of interest. However, she noted, at the conclusion of the investigation, there was no change in the baby's cause or manner of death as determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Prior to the baby's death, Kautz had spent time in jail for the April 21, 2012, robbery of TD Bank in downtown Brattleboro. During court proceedings he pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and no contest to grand larceny. The state asked for eight to 10 years in jail, but a judge in Windham County gave him a two-to-10 year sentence, noting a history of personal trauma, mental illness and substance abuse as mitigating factors.

Kautz, 33, was released from jail and died of an overdose on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, four months after his son died. After his overdose, the investigation into the death of his son continued.

"This was a difficult incident to investigate," said Shriver. "We appreciate the professionalism of all those who were involved."

The Windham County State's Attorney's Office and the Brattleboro Police Department were assisted by the Brattleboro office of the Department of Children and Families, the emergency room staff at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Brattleboro Fire Department and the pediatric unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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