November 28, 2014

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‘I’m heartbroken’

Mother says she’s grief stricken, denies harming her children: ‘I love my kids’

LORAIN — The St. Clair family knows this much: Justice and grief will dictate their own roads in the days ahead.
On Thursday — days after the murder of her 8-month-old son — Julie St. Clair, 20, would talk only about the grief.
Sitting motionless on the steps of her sister’s apartment building in Lorain, St. Clair spoke quietly and offered few words to recap the events of the past few days.
Tuesday morning, St. Clair’s son, Jayden Davidson, died at a Lorain hospital from what the county coroner said were severe head and brain injuries. Police have said Kevin Kimbrough, 24, is a suspect, but he’s being held on unrelated charges and hasn’t been charged in the baby’s death.
St. Clair said police are investigating, and she’s cooperating. She refused to say any more about the investigation itself.
But what she would say is that regardless of what everyone thinks, she loves her children.
“I love my kids,” St. Clair said. “I would never do anything to hurt my kids, and I took very good care of them.”
Police say Jayden died of head and brain injuries, but he also showed signs of long-term abuse from the past few months. The boy’s brother, Jordan, 2, also showed signs of physical abuse and is being treated at a Cleveland hospital.
Police have not said if St. Clair or anyone else will be charged in the child’s death, and Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera said it will be up to prosecutors or a grand jury.
Family members say Kimbrough — Julie’s ex-boyfriend — was a fill-in baby sitter Tuesday morning because another family member was unavailable; he had baby-sat St. Clair’s children on a few occasions.
St. Clair is a single mom who was on her way to work that morning, headed to a relatively new job as a bus monitor.
St. Clair said her son’s death, coupled with a media firestorm and public scrutiny, has taken its toll.
“I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m heartbroken … it’s all mixed emotions,” she said, her arms crossed and tears rolling down her cheeks. “I just wish the media would quit trying to down-talk me.”
While spending much of her time alone, St. Clair said she’s also turned to her three sisters — including an identical twin, Jennifer — and her aunt, Elizabeth Stigall, for emotional support.
Stigall’s own son, Shawn, died in 1988 of heart failure, just 10 days short of his first birthday.
“I’ve already told her it’s going to be a living nightmare,” Stigall said, glancing softly at St. Clair. “It’s not something you get over — it’s just something you learn to live with. Losing a child … it’s hard.”
In a piece of painful coincidence, Stigall said the body of St. Clair’s dead son was in the same Lorain hospital room in which her own son died nearly 20 years ago.
“It was the exact same room,” Stigall said, her voice quavering. “It’s hard. Everybody who’s lost a child knows that.”
Julie’s oldest sister, Stacy St. Clair, 23, shook her head and looked at her own two daughters, ages 3 and 4, catching lightning bugs on the tree lawn.
“I couldn’t even imagine,” Stacy said. “I cannot even imagine.”
For now — the police investigation, Kevin Kimbrough and all else aside — Julie St. Clair said she’s faced with the surreal duty of burying her child.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Julie said. “We’ve put the obituary in the newspaper.”
Services for Jayden are on Monday, and the burial is scheduled for Tuesday. Family members said anyone looking to contribute to the child’s burial can make donations at any Lorain National Bank.
Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.

 

Bruce Bishop / Chronicle
Kevin Kimbrough listens to Judge Mark Mihok during Kimbrough’s arraignment in Lorain Municipal Court on charges unrelated to the murder of 8-month-old Jayden Davidson. Kimbrough is the primary suspect in the killing, according to police.
See Kimbrough’s arraignment