Cash Christopher Bell
October 16, 2012 - March 5, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial

Cash was born to Christopher J. and Ashley Bell, parents who loved their son the way parents should. Both of Cash's parents worked so it was necessary to have a nanny at home. Sarah A. Cullen, a 24 year old mother of a toddler who was five months pregnant with her second child, was hired through and online nanny service, to care for Cash. Sarah had no felony Police record though she had plead guilty to a charge of driving under the influence about a year before she was hired, that was a misdemeanor charge.

Cash was said to be a baby with a good appetite who was happy that morning having eaten breakfast, holding hands with his parents as they chose what he would wear for the day. Christopher and Ashley left for work, the way did every day before. Cash was happy and acting like he normally would. Later that morning, Christopher went back home to get his checkbook and noticed that his son was laying face down in a Pack-N-Play, though his breathing didn't sound right, Christopher assumed that position he was sleeping in was the cause and rolled him on to his back. As he was driving away, he noticed that Sarah was outside with Cash.

On February 28, at about 10:00 a.m. Sarah called her boyfriend who was a volunteer Firefighter. Sarah said she was worried about Cash's breathing and wondered if he would come over and check him. Before he could get there, Sarah noticed that Cash's breathing had become much worse and she began to do CPR on the baby. When her boyfriend go there, Sarah rushed outside to his car and they brought Cash to the hospital, it would be 11:00 a.m. when they finally arrived there.

From that hospital, Cash was taken by life fight to Children's Hospital & Medical Center where he died five days later. Sarah gave several different versions of what happened, first saying she didn't know what had happened and suggested he might have hit his head on the door as she had gone outside, she then said he fell out of his swing and her third story was that about 8:00 a.m. she had fallen on the stairs while holding Cash, dropping him and he had hit his head on the tile floor. None of the injuries that Cash had were consistent with any of her versions of the story.

Reports said that Cash had head and brain injuries and Sarah A. Cullen was charged with child abuse resulting in death. Sarah's Lawyer, Joe Howard, said that she had been frustrated while being interviewed by the police and that she was very upset about the death of Cash. Sarah's bail was set at $50,000. and she was only going to have come up with ten percent, she posted $5,000. and was released. Joe Howard said:

"Horrible things happen and sometimes it's not anyone's fault or it's an accident,
but we're going to get to the bottom of it"

Sarah was facing 20 years in prison if found guilty.

In March of 2014, the trial had started and Ashley was taking the stand and was talking about how she had delivered a healthy boy who had weighed nine pounds and was 22 inches long, looked just like his father with blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin. Cash had been an easy baby, sleeping through the night at six weeks old:

"He was very vocal, always cooing and laughing. He was perfectly healthy his entire life.
he slept good, ate good. He was just a good baby"

Ashley had taken 11 weeks of maternity leave before deciding to check out day cares and nanny services. When Ashley found the best day care, they didn't have an immediate opening so she and Christopher decided to hire a nanny until they could get Cash into the daycare. Sarah had impressed Ashley and Christopher from the beginning even helping to take care of Cash while she was being interviewed and Ashley had her work a few days while she was home just to be sure how she was going to interact with Cash. A background check of Sarah showed her record with children to be clean, she had previously worked in a daycare center called "Grow With Me". Unfortunately the owner, Jennifer Schmaderer had failed to reported her suspicions that Sarah had been rough with the children and has since been ticketed for not doing what was required of her by law.

Ashley told of how the morning had begun with Christopher giving Cash a bottle:

"He was talking, I was talking to him. He was kicking his feet like crazy, putting
his hands above his head"

Ashley said that Cash had a Doctor's appointment later in the day and she left for work. At about 10:18 a.m., Sarah had called her at work and said that there was something wrong with Cash:

"She was frantic and said that Cash had just woken up from his nap and he wasn't
breathing right and she was going to take him to the hospital"

Christopher and Ashley met Sarah at the hospital:

"She said, "I just don't know what happened, I've never seen a child look like this before""

When Ashley and Christopher saw Cash, he was crying like they had never heard before:

"Sometimes when Cash would wake up crying, I would say, you know, Mama's here. He
would know my voice. He would calm down and he would stop crying"
Ashley Bell

Doctors said that Cash had fractures in his skull, swelling in his brain, burst blood vessels and blood pooling in his eyes and due to his extreme condition he would need to be taken to Children's Hospital & Medical Center. Christopher and Ashley stayed by his side for five days as Doctors told them that he was blind and if he survived he would most likely be deaf. Then came the news that Cash would never be able to get off of the ventilator and would always need a breathing tube and he would never be able to speak. The decision was made that Cash would be taken off of life support:

"Chris and I had to make the decision. That, that's not living"
Ashley Bell

In May of 2013, Sarah Cullen spoke in court saying:

"If there's anything I could do to take the pain away and bring it on myself, I would.
I'm so sorry and I'll never forgive myself and never expect anyone else to either"

The jury never heard the information about how Sarah has been rough with the children at the day care, but Judge Mark Ashford was able to use that information when he sentenced Sarah Cullen, who was 25 years old at the time to 70 years to life in prison, though she would become eligible for parole after serving only 35 years. Why sentenced her to 70 years to life if she is not going to have to do 70 years before parole is available? I don't understand that! Ashley had asked the Judge to sentence Sarah to life without parole:

"We held our baby as he died in our arms. She's completely heartless. A person capable
of committing cold blooded murder and isn't phased doesn't deserve to get out of prison"
Ashley Bell

Disgustingly, Assistant Public Defender Matt Miller had suggested that it was possible that Christopher had caused the injuries that lead to the death of Cash, when he turned him over while he was sleeping. Is this guy a TOTAL idiot? Babies do NOT get skull fractures from being turned over on a soft surface, they don't get brain swelling and bleeding in their eyes, they don't blind and deaf and mute from being turned over on a soft surface. People in the court room were visibly upset about the suggestion.

When court was over, one of the jurors asked the Judge if they could speak with Christopher and Ashley, he said they could. Four women on the jury went to speak with them and they were so happy that they gave each one of them a hug.

In June of 2014, Christopher and Ashley filed a lawsuit against Sarah, the Grow With Me child care center and the owner of the child care center, Jennifer Schmaderer and another child care center named La Petite Academy Child Care as well as it's former director Lisa Hampson, included in the lawsuit was Care.com which is an online family care service.

Jennifer Schmaderer had been found guilty of misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspected child abuse and was facing three months in jail as well as a $500. fine. Care.com offered a free search option or a paid option, Christopher and Ashley had chosen to the pay option so they could be sure that they were getting the best care. I am torn on this because Care.com, IN MY OPINION, shouldn't be responsible for the fact that the abuse Sarah was suspected of was not reported, they can't give information that they are not aware of, the background check done by Care.com was done and nothing bad came up except the drunk driving conviction and they chose to hire Sarah even knowing that information. Christopher and Ashley said the would not have hired Sarah if they had known about the suspicion of her abusing children:

"Our son Cash's death is a tragedy that could have been prevented. It is our sincerest
hope
that by filing this civil lawsuit against those responsible for Cash's death, we can raise
 aware
ness of infant child abuse and prevent other young children from suffering the same
fate as Cash"


In the lawsuit, it states that the two daycare centers knew that Sarah was a danger to children and that they had covered up her abuse by lying to parents about the injuries on their children. Sarah had been accused of throwing toddlers to the ground and at one point she shoved a shoe into the mouth of a 14 month old child, splitting the child's lip. Lydia Cisaruk said that she had been made aware of the facts in the case only the previous fall and that it upset her:

"As regulated caregivers, we take our responsibility to meet our exceed state guidelines
seriously. We have strict policies and procedures to ensure that we're providing the highest
level of care:"
La Petite Spokeswoman

The lawsuit was seeking compensation in an unspecified amount to cover medical treatment, funeral costs and for pain and suffering for Cash.

OBITUARY:

BELL, Baby Cash Christopher
Oct 16, 2012 – Mar 5, 2013
“Snuggle baby, please know that our greatest blessing was having you.”

Heaven’s gain was our loss when our angel was called back to heaven. Cash Christopher came into this world and was taken 141 days later.

Cash Christopher is being greeted in Heaven by great-grandparents: Don and Tim Ferguson, Melvin Hansen, Florence and Murle Bell, Ted and Erma Bergerson, and Sean Devine.

Cash is survived by his parents, Chris and Ashley Bell; grandparents: Rose and Larry Bergerson, Doug Ferguson, Debra Bell, John and Pat Bell; great-grandparents: Rex and Bert Lichtenberger, Lovenetta Hansen; aunts and uncles: Angie and John Roderique, Chad Ferguson, Courtney and Robbie Rollins, Nicole Bergerson, Travis and Jenn Bergerson, Aaron Devine; cousins: Alecia Zauha, Cole Ferguson, Reese Ferguson, Evan Roderique, Christian Rollins, Chloe Rollins, Olivia Bergerson, Andrew Bergerson, Ava Bergerson and Nathan Bergerson. He is also survived by many great-aunts, uncles and cousins.

VISITATION Friday, March 8, 5pm to 8pm at the West Center Chapel. SERVICES Saturday, March 9 at 10am at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 925 S. 84 St. Interment, Evergreen Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, a Cash Bell Memorial Fund is being established at Wells Fargo Bank.

HEAFEY-HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK & CUTLER
Mortuaries and Crematories
7805 West Center Road
Omaha, Nebraska 68124
(402) 391-3900

Thank you Cat for allowing another child to be memorialized.

This page was created on December 3, 2014

Death occurred in the state of Nebraska

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