Katherine L Kost.jpg

Katherine Kost

A date is set for the bench trial of a woman facing multiple charges in connection with the alleged child abuse of a 4-year-old boy.

Katherine Kost, 53, is facing three counts of abuse of neglect of a child without sexual contact, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child without sexual contact, one count of endangering the welfare of a child with sexual conduct, and kidnapping. 

A bench trial has been set for March 22, 2022 in front of Taney County Presiding Judge Jeffrey Merrell. The case is being tried in Taney County even though the alleged crimes took place in Stone County following the approval of a change of venue motion in April.

Kost is one of four people charged in connection with the alleged abuse of the child; one of the accused, Richard A. Hilliker, pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of a child with sexual conduct and endangering the welfare of a child without sexual conduct. He was sentenced to a five year term in the Department of Corrections.

Another defendant, William McLendon, is scheduled for a jury trial before Taney County Judge Merrill on May 10, 2022 after a change of venue motion was approved in September. The fourth defendant, Dessa Barton, is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Dec. 6, with a jury trial scheduled for Jan. 4, 2022.

Court documents and a press release from Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader stated a 911 call on Nov. 6, 2020, led deputies to a residence on State Highway K where they found an unresponsive 4-year-old boy. 

Deputies discovered a crate the boy was kept inside. A bowl and spoon were found under the crate’s floor and children’s clothing and shoes in leaves next to the crate. In an interview with police, Kost admitted the child was kept in the crate overnight and also locked inside a bathroom for hours.

The child had been in the care of Barton, the biological mother, McLendon, the mother’s boyfriend, and Kost, McLendon’s mother.

A Stone County Detective reported Barton claimed the child was self-harming by clawing at his eyes and nose, and by banging his head against items. Barton admitted not taking the child to the doctor for any of their injuries.

A second detective responded to Cox South Hospital to check on the child. A forensic nurse who worked with the child told the detective there were extensive injuries, both old and new, and the  injuries on the body were in places not possible from self-harming as described by the mother.

Law enforcement personnel were informed that the child would need to be airlifted to Kansas City for further treatment, with the extreme malnutrition being the major concern of doctors.

Read the original story ‘Four see additional charges in child endangerment case’ on Bransontrilakesnews.com.

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