Woman charged in death of 3-year-old Lancaster Co girl

Cook (Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)
Cook (Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)

LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A woman has been arrested in connection to the death of a 3-year-old who died in Lancaster County in December.

Kayla Marie Cook, 25, is charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of Lillian Schroeder. Lancaster police said Schroeder was found at her home just after 12 p.m. on Dec. 18 "lying on her back in the living room unresponsive."

The young girl was rushed to Springs Memorial Hospital in a police vehicle while police and fire personnel performed CPR. The girl died just before 1:30 p.m. at the hospital.

According to the official warrant released Wednesday, Schroeder died from cerebral edema which was due to a blunt force trauma/injury to her head "within minutes" of receiving the injury.

The next day, a warrant was issued for Cook on the charges. She was arrested on Dec. 29 in Cleveland County and brought back to Lancaster on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Cook told investigators she was alone with the young girl since 7 a.m. while the child's father was at work on the day of her death, the warrant states. Officials said Cook said she put Schroeder in the bathtub, and when she came back to check on her she was lying on her back in the tub unresponsive but "looking around and breathing."

The warrant also states that "numerous bruises were observed on several parts of the victim's body."

Cook remains in jail without bond.

The coroner said their office, along with Lancaster City Police Department and State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), were investigating the child's death.

"This tragic incident has taken a heavy toll on the families involved. It has touched a lot of people, including the Community, First Responders, Officers and Investigators involved as well," said Chief Scott Grant. "We will continue to speak for the young victim in this case as it moves forward through the judicial process."

No further information has been released.

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