Alissa Beth Guernsey
November 2, 2007 - March 28, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial

On March 28, 2009, Christy Shaffer did what many people do every day, she drove to McDonald's and ordered food at the drive through window. Nothing wrong with that, except that in the back seat of her car, strapped into a car seat was a 15 month old child, a beautiful little girl, who Christy had beaten, who was now dying and Christy would do NOTHING to help her until she returned home later that night. I don't know why, after all of the years I have been telling these heartbreaking stories on my site, it still shocks me to know that people can hurt a child and then refuse to get them help, but it does.

Alissa Beth Guernsey was a happy, healthy baby girl, with blonde hair, brown eyes a beautiful smile. People who know her, say she hardly ever cried. In December of 2008, Alissa's father had died in a car accident and Alissa, along with her siblings, was placed in the care of her mother's cousin, Christy Shaffer. In early January of 2009, Alissa began to show signs of abuse in the form of unexplained hair loss and bruising, four months after being placed into the care of this woman, Alissa was dead and the coroner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma to her tiny head.

In the short time she was with Christy, Alissa had been to the doctor at least 15 times. At first, Alissa's Pediatrician thought there might be some kind of a medical reason for the condition she was in during these visits. Alissa had an injury to her arm and it was reported to the doctor that she had fell while playing with the family pet. At that time, the doctor noticed the bruises on her face and decided to do some tests for Leukemia. Then on March 3, 2009, he would call the Department Of Child Services after his tests didn't show anything that could be medically causing her hair to fall out or the bruises that she had. During this time, Christy did not allow Alissa's mother to see her at all. In a picture of Alissa taken during the time she was with Christy, bruises can be seen.




On March 5, 2009, Alissa was taken to Riley Hospital For Children in Indianapolis. A doctor there found no medical explanation for Alissa's injuries and decided that she must be banging her head against her crib while she slept.

Upon returning home on March 28, 2009, Christy decided it was finally time to  call 911 and the emergency response team worked for 45 minutes to try to save the life of Alissa. At 9:54 p.m., they realized it was no use and Alissa was pronounced dead. Alissa was found to have many bruises on her head as well as over her body. Inside Alissa's mouth was an open wound about 1 inch in size, in the process of healing. It was later determined that Alissa's hair had been pulled out of her head and had not just been falling out on its own.

NOTE: I was informed by a woman named  Krystal that before calling 911, Christy called her brother, who was an EMT. Christy didn't want to get law enforcement involved if she didn't need to so the two tried to revive Alissa, when they were unsuccessful, that's when 911 was called.

In June of 2009, Christy's indictment was before the La Grange County Grand Jury. The prosecutor, Jeff Wible, presented two criminal charges for the jury to consider. First was a Class B Felony charge, neglect of a dependent
and second was a Class C Felony charge of neglect of a dependent. How could this man be so blind to what had happened to this little Angel? NEVER on the table was any charge even closely related to murder, which was the real cause of the death of Alissa. The autopsy done on Alissa had shown that in addition to the beating she had received in the back of the car that day, Alissa had old injuries that included broken bones and her brain had lesions of trauma and though Alissa had been prescribed medication for pain, NONE of the medication was present in
toxicology reports. Do we even need to ask where it went?

Christy plead guilty to the charge of neglect of a dependent, in February of 2011. On May 25, Christy was given a
DISGUSTING sentence of ten years for what she did, though six of those years were suspended for God only knows what reason. If Christy behaved herself in prison, she would only have to serve six years, they call that little loop hole,
good behavior. SHOCKINGLY, on August 11, 2011, after serving only 77 short days in prison, Christy Shaffer was
released from prison and is a free woman. Tyler Sprunger, Alissa's Uncle, had a Facebook page called "77 Days For Murder" and organized a protest for what happened:

"She died a painful  death.  Blunt force trauma to the head that's a lot of painful blows. 
It's not fair for a 15 month old baby to go out like that. The defendant in this case was
never tried for murder was basically given a slap on the wrist"
Tyler Sprunger - Alissa's Uncle

"This woman should not be home with her kids. She should be paying for her crime that she
committed. There are drug offenders in this town getting way more than this woman got for
murder."
Bobbie Tuttle - Resident

"I have two kids and if anything like this had happened to one of my kids, I would want
everybody to come together to help me"
Kimberly Shephard - Resident

"I am here because I think the decision for her early release is unjust. There was not justice
for this little baby"
Denylle Lumbard - Resident

In her sworn testimony, Christy had this to say:

"Although I acknowledge  the opinion of an expert witness who determined that Alissa Guernsey
 died as the result of blunt-force trauma, I disagree with expert's  opinion. Even though I am not 
personally responsible for nor did I participate in causing any injuries to Alissa Guernsey, I realize
that I am legally responsible for  providing timely medical treatment while she was in my care
and  custody"
Christy Shaffer


Tyler Sprunger, his friends, family and strangers say that until Justice is served for Alissa, they will protest, every
Friday at the Lagrange County Courthouse:

"Two years that she would  have had to serve, that she would have had in the first place
 wasn't  even justice.  Alissa can never be brought back but people deserve to  know that a
murder happened and until people know that, I will not  stop"


OBITUARY:

Alissa B. Guernsey

ALISSA B. GUERNSEY, 1 year old daughter of Michael Guernsey and Kelli Sprunger of Topeka, passed away Saturday, March 28, 2009. Arrangements by Weicht Funeral Home, 207 N. West Street, Angola.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on April 4, 2009

News Article:

LaGRANGE, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Department of Child Services has settled its part of a lawsuit involving the death of a 16-month-old girl in foster care.

The lawyer for the girl's mother, Kelli Sprunger, told the South Bend Tribune that the agency has agreed to pay her $150,000 for its alleged role in the March 2009 death of her daughter, Alissa Guernsey.

"There is a settlement," DCS spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday. "We were just waiting for all the paperwork to be done ... I think it's been signed by all the parties."

McFarland said in a statement that the settlement didn't assign fault, nor could it reflect the value of a child's life.

The toddler died from unexplained injuries in early 2009, a few months after she was placed with Sprunger's cousin, Christy Shaffer, by the DCS.

The autopsy report said the child's medical history indicated previous injuries. The autopsy also found bleeding inside the girl's skull, an inch-long cut inside her mouth that was starting to heal and multiple facial bruises.

Sprunger originally filed the lawsuit in LaGrange Circuit Court, but in June 2010, the case was moved to federal court in Fort Wayne. DCS was one of several parties named in the complaint.

Shaffer claimed she didn't know how Alissa received her injuries and denied striking the toddler. Shaffer was convicted of neglect and sentenced to four years in prison, but released after serving 77 days.

The lawsuit claimed the DCS caseworker assigned to the case did not pay enough attention to the frequency of the girl's injuries. The caseworker no longer works for the agency.

Attorney Kevin Likes, who represents Sprunger, told the Tribune that he considers a $150,000 mediated settlement with a government agency a victory.

Sprunger said she plans to use the money to pay for surgery for another of her daughters, who is disabled.

UPDATE:

In November of 2013, Christy Shaffer, who was 35 years old, possibly violated her probation and if it was proven that she did, she would have to serve the remaining time of her original ten year sentence. Christy was charged with possession of  Meth amphetamine and maintaining a common nuisance after her probation officer was told about what was going on in her life, each count is a felony.

Prosecutors stated that allegedly, two men who had been arrested and charged earlier in that month with felonies that were higher level related to dealing and possession, were manufacturing Meth in Christy's garage. While searching the home of one of the men, his cell phone rang and when the police officer answered it was Christy who had called. Christy later admitted that she had flushed drugs down the toilet after that call. A drug test confirmed that Christy had Meth in her system. Christy's children were removed from her home and LaGrange County Prosecutor,
Jeff Wible, said that the positive test for drugs was grounds for revoking probation and while it was up to the probation department he was sure that it would happen.

As of today's date, March 1, 2014, I am unable to find any information about Christy's case. I do not know if she ended up back in prison or not. I can only hope she did.


UPDATE: May 2014

I have just learned that in April of 2014, Christy's bond was revoked by Judge Wallace. Christy was sent back to prison to serve the remainder of her sentence.


Death Occurred in the state of Indiana

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