On August 25, 2009, Nathaniel Craver died as a result of traumatic brain injury. He had been adopted from Russia. When he was hospitalized, doctors counted more than 80 injuries that were in various stages of healing. They included previous fractures.
On July 2, 2010, Kairissa Mark also died from traumatic brain injury. She had been adopted from China. Doctors found that she had broken bones and bruises.
The Cravers spent 19 months in prison and were sentenced to time served. Kairissa Mark’s adoptive mother, Deborah Mark, was sentenced to life in prison.
Testifying for the prosecution, Dr. Wayne Ross told the jury that the boy’s legs were as thin as pencils, bruises covered his torso and back, and his brain showed widespread evidence of blunt-force trauma.
Dr. Ross continued his testimony, stating that that torn muscles around Nathaniel’s shoulders and pelvis, some of them fresh, indicated that someone yanked or pulled on him and finally shared with the jury that “severe, significant failure-to-thrive or starvation” contributed to the death of Nathaniel.
Source. Michael and Nanette Craver said that Nathaniel died as a result of self-inflicted injuries.
The Cravers are seeking a new trial.
The head injury killed Kairissa two days after she was admitted to the hospital. But an autopsy found she had suffered far more trauma during her time with the Marks. Thirteen broken bones. Scars and bruises on her nipples and inner thighs.
Deborah Mark told investigators that, frustrated by the child’s behavior, she had hit Kairissa with sticks, shaken her, pinched and twisted her nipples and thighs, and finally flung her into her bedroom wall.
Both the Marks and the Cravers have other children. The Marks have an older biological daughter, and the Cravers adopted Nathaniel’s twin. She is now in the custody of Nanette Craver’s sister.
I’ve commented previously about sentencing disparities, and people who are not idiots understand that I am not suggesting that the murder of children is not a serious crime.
Edited to add: Steven Mark was a stay-at-home dad and apparently called the agency right before the child died.
Lowery said that in a June 30 phone call to the adoption agency, Steven Mark said: “Why did you send this demon child to me?’’
The Nashville director for Bethany Christian Services, which placed Kairissa with the Marks, said during testimony that a counselor emailed the Marks to set up a meeting but never got a response.