More information released on Cheyenne Hill’s Michigan arrest

BEDFORD – More information has been released in the arrest of Cheyenne Hill who is accused of child neglect causing death.

Hill was arrested in Oasyth Township in Michigan when police stopped a vehicle after an investigation into the theft of firewood from a Forsyth Township campground. Marquette County, Michigan is approximately 11 hours from Bedford. 

On September 16, the Forsyth Township Police Department received a report of firewood stolen from the Forsyth Township Tourist Park Campground. Video surveillance captured the crime, leaving police with a vehicle description.

Cheyenne Hill

Police located that vehicle later in the day and made a traffic stop. The passenger in the vehicle was 33 year-old Cheyenne Hill, who was wanted on a warrant related to the death of her daughter 20-month-old Elliaunna (Elli) M. Plummer.

Hill was arrested and lodged at the Marquette County Jail. Hill waived her extradition rights and Lawrence County Sheriff Department transport officers brought Hill back to Lawrence County on September 25, where she was booked into the Lawrence County Jail.

Lawrence Sheriff’s Department Detectives, led by Capt. Jim Slone conducted an extensive and exhaustive investigation into the events surrounding and leading up to Elliaunna’s death.

According to a probable cause affidavit, on November 23, 2022, at 12:16 p.m. officers were requested to IU Health Bedford Hospital by the Department of Child Services caseworker who reported that Elli had been flown by a medical helicopter from IU Health to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Elli would have celebrated her second birthday on Saturday, March 25, 2023.

The baby had suffered a brain bleed, a broken collar bone, and had head and facial bruising. It was noted the child had a swollen and deformed head with bruising to her forehead and the left and right sides of her face.

The baby had arrived at the IU Health Bedford Hospital for treatment at 11:01 a.m.

The caseworker reported they have received two anonymous Hotline tips about the child’s welfare.

The first tip was received on November 17, 2022, at 1:26 p.m. reporting suspicious smells coming from the apartment where Elli lived with her mother. The caller reported the odor of marijuana and a strong chemical smell.

The caller reported Elli’s mother, Cheyenne Hill had admitted to the caller that she had smoked marijuana and the caller said they believed Hill was using meth. The caller reported seeing lightened bruises on Elli’s face and had been told that the toddler had fallen out of bed. The caller reported the bruising had been there for less than a week but they didn’t believe Elli had been physically abused.

The second tip was received on November 23, 2022, at approximately 10:58 a.m. This caller reported the injuries were possibly abuse-related and that they appeared to be non-accidental in nature and they were suspicious about the explanation of how the child was injured. The caller reported there were fingerprint bruises on the side of the child’s face which were consistent with someone grabbing the child’s face and squeezing. They also said the child appeared to be lethargic or “half dead” and could barely hold her head up. The caller reported Hill had left for work and left the child with her boyfriend Cameron Fleming despite Elli’s condition.

Investigators spoke to Hill on November 23, 2022, and she told police that on that day Elli woke up whining at approximately 3:40 a.m. and she noticed the swelling on Elli’s forehead had returned. Hill told police she did not feel it was serious enough to call an ambulance. She said, “As a mom, she would know if something was wrong with her baby”. Hill subsequently admitted that was a failure on her part.

Hill stated she woke up at 8:00 a.m. later that morning and Elli was still sleeping and she heard her snoring. She stated she was surprised Elli was sleeping that late and was not whining. Hill went into Cameron Fleming’s bedroom and talked with him for about forty minutes before returning to where Elli was sleeping. She said the boyfriend said Elli looked pale. Hill gently pulled on Elli and called her name. That is when she noticed Elli’s breathing was shallow and that Elli’s hands and feet were tensing or constricting up. She advised she gently pulled on Elli and called her name and that she put water in her mouth but Elli did not respond. Hill stated she flicked water in Elli’s face and Elli responded to that with a moaning sound and grunted. Hill opened Elli’s eyes and noticed they did not dilate, but seemed normal. Hill stated she tried to get Elli to respond or wake up until 9:30 a.m. when she left for work.

Hill stated she smoked marijuana before she left because she was freaking out and worried and marijuana helps when she is stressed.

On November 23rd, 2022, Cameron Fleming, Hill’s boyfriend, who shares an apartment with Hill and Elli, reported Hill would throw Elli’s food on the floor for her to eat. She referred to it as “free-roaming”. Fleming reported on November 22nd that after Hill picked up Elli from the babysitter, Elli’s forehead injury was much worse, huge, and looked “Klingonish”. He described it as so big that one side of the swelling was down further on the forehead than the other. Fleming reported it was at this point he realized Elli should go to the hospital. He stated when the injury originally happened “we all” told Hill that Elli needed to go to the hospital. Fleming reported on the morning of November 23, 2022, he and Hill checked on Elli shortly after 9:00 a.m. before Hill left for work.

He told police Elli at that time was lying face up with her legs straight as if they were tensed up and she appeared pale and uncomfortable and her eyes were partially open. Her breathing was labored and erratic, explaining Elli would take a breath and then not take another breath for ten to twenty-five seconds. He stated Elli was snoring and he had never heard her snore before. There was also a “hematoma” or bad bruise on her forehead that had been there for eight to ten days. He stated Hill had previously told him that the injury was from Elli hitting her head on an end table.

He stated Hill initially attempted to wake Elli by talking to her and gently shaking her, mentioning that the babysitter and her boyfriend had told her Elli had been sleepy all day the day before which made her think Elli just needed sleep. Fleming stated he told Hill he didn’t think that was the case, that it was worse than that. He stated he believed Hill thought the same thing but stated she had to go to work.

She told Fleming as she was leaving for work that “if Elli wakes up take her downstairs” to the babysitter.

Fleming told police he thought “it was odd” that Hill would go to work because of the child’s condition.

A co-worker told investigators that Hill arrived at work and asked her “Did you ever have a problem with your baby not wanting to wake up?” Hill told her co-worker, “Well my baby won’t wake up” before continuing on with her work.

Hill had told the co-worker on November 15, 2022, that her child had a brain tumor that bled occasionally.

Hill told a second co-worker “I couldn’t wake her that morning and that when Cameron woke her (Elli) up she was incoherent”.

Elli’s babysitter told police Elli had a big “goose egg” on her forehead on November 15, 2022, that “was supposedly caused by her falling off the bed”. She stated Hill told her she had contacted Elli’s doctor about the injury and was told it would go away in five days or so. The babysitter watched Elli on November 15, 16, and 17 from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. and the size of the knot on her forehead did not change but did cause Elli’s eyes to squint a little. She told police, she told Hill numerous times to take Elli to the emergency room for treatment.

The babysitter told police the bruising on Elli’s face became more prominent beneath her eyes and on her cheeks as time wore on. On one occasion when she noticed small dark bruises on Elli’s face, Hill explained Elli had gotten her head stuck in the futon upside down and could not get out.

The babysitter told police that Elli’s personality seemed to change, she became clingy, wanting to be close to her, and wouldn’t play by herself.

She reported when she babysat Elli on November 22, 2022, the swelling was back. The babysitter’s fiancé told police he had first observed Elli’s head injury on November 15, 2022. He described it as a mass that was so swollen and pronounced it had caused swelling in Elli’s eyes and lips. He stated when he told Hill she needed to take Elli to the hospital she responded by telling them “Under no circumstances are you to call an ambulance or take her in yourself. I will make the decisions. That is my child”. He stated Hill told them Elli was all right and that it was just swelling from where she hit her head.

On November 23, 2022, Hill received a message from Fleming stating Elli needed to go to the hospital. She left work and took her to IU Health Bedford Hospital.

A female neighbor told police she had on one occasion in mid-September 2022, observed Hill toss four donuts on the floor for Elli to eat explaining Elli “free ranges or “free roams”. She told police she noticed the bruising on Elli’s forehead on November 17, 2022. She described the injury as being the entire width of her forehead and about two inches deep and her entire forehead was swollen. Hill had told her the baby had fallen off the bed and hit her head on the hardwood floor, but then days later said the child was injured after running into the counter.

On October 7, 2022, Hill sent a text message to Fleming stating, “Elli was f***ing terrible last night when we came back. She wouldn’t stop crying. I wanted to throw her (believed to be referring to Ellie)”.

A second text to Fleming stated. “Let me get this asshole to bed (believed to be referring to Ellie)”.

On November 11, 2022, Hill told co-worker Elli was sick and that she may get a phone call to take her to the emergency room. Hill said Elli was born with a tumor on her brain and it was bleeding. A day later Hill told the same co-worker a day later, Elli fell off of the bed and hit her head causing bleeding in the brain.

The co-worker told Hill if it were her child she would take Elli to the hospital and would not be at work, but Hill remained at work. She also recalled Hill telling her Elli had gotten her head stuck in a futon and when asked if she took her to the hospital Hill responded no. Hill replied, “I don’t have to go to the hospital Elli is going to be ok.”

Another resident in the apartment complex reported that on November 13, 2022. he received a text message from Fleming saying Elli had two black eyes and her hair was falling out.

On November 18, 2022, Hill told a co-worker her little girl had a broken collar bone and believed a neighbor who didn’t like Elli had hurt her.

On November 21, 2022, Hill told another co-worker that Elli used to be beautiful and now she was ugly. She also said Fleming would marry her if she didn’t have a baby.

Another resident in the apartment building reported on November 1 they had spoken to Hill and seen Elli and thought the child had chocolate all over her face but it was bruising. Hill said it was from Elli randomly jumping off things and falling on the floor and from pulling on her ears and hair so much it caused bruising.

On November 23, 2022, after being transferred to Riley Hospital, police received a report from an IU Child Protection Program Nurse Practitioner that stated there had been no accidental history provided that would account for the patient’s (Elli) traumatic and likely fatal injuries. Further, there has been no medical condition identified that would predispose the patient to these findings. Her medical evaluation was ongoing. At that time, she reported the patient’s constellation of injuries was most characteristic of NAT/inflicted injury/child abuse. In addition to the above impression, the history provided of the child’s clinical state at home over a period of several hours (described as grunting, unable to be woken up, “posturing,” unresponsive) without a caregiver seeking medical care for the child is consistent with medical neglect.

On November 25, 2022, Indiana Donor Network Family Service Representative made a note in her report Hill referred to Elli as “not a nice kid” and stated that she (Hill) believes Elli would have been the next “Jeffrey Dahmer”. Hill stated, “Something wasn’t right with her”.

On November 26, 2022, Elli was pronounced dead at 4:35 p.m.. According to Deputy Coroner Herniter’s report per hospital staff, Elli appeared to be malnourished and approximately ten pounds underweight.

On November 29, 2022, a post-mortem examination conducted by Pathologist Doctor Amanda Paul revealed Elli was malnourished, had a laceration to her upper and lower frenulum that were not from medical intervention, a right acute clavicle fracture, and multiple subgaleal hemorrhages – an accumulation of blood that forms between a baby’s skull and the skin on their scalp. Dr. Paul concluded the manner of death was homicide, and that the injuries would have occurred after November 21, 2022, and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

On December 7, 2022. Hill submitted to a stipulated polygraph examination. Indiana State Police Sergeant Polygraph Examiner Jason Sample performed the examination. The following is a summation of the questions asked, answers given, and Sergeant Sample’s analysis:

  1. Did you physically injure that girl’s head? (Answer: No)
  2. Are you the person who physically injured that girl’s head? (Answer: No)
  3. Do you know for sure who physically injured that girl’s head? (Answer: No)

It was the opinion of the examiner that Hill was not truthful and failed the polygraph test.

Hill told investigators she feels like she did not pass the test because she feels like she failed Elliaunna. When asked why she didn’t take Elli to the hospital, Hill said she had to provide for her daughter, saying she was about to be homeless.

When asked why she referred to her daughter as Jeffrey Dahmer, she began to laugh and said Elli was an asshole.

The information was forwarded to the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Department and a warrant was issued for Hill’s arrest.

Hill pleaded not guilty to the crime on September 26th in Lawrence County Superior Court I with Judge John Plummer III presiding. Hill is being represented by Attorney Robert G. Hamilton II, of Salem. Presenting the case for the State is Lawrence County Prosecutor Sam Arp. Omnibus date has been set for November 25, 2023. The Omnibus Hearing is essentially a date by which certain pleadings and motions must be filed by the Defendant instead of a date that you must appear in court. a Pretrial Conference on November 27, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., and a Jury Trial is scheduled for March 13, 2024, at 8:30 a.m.