Father admits child abuse; Police investigate death of another of man's children


A father who admitted in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court yesterday that he abused his baby daughter had another child whose death is under police scrutiny.

John Lee Plotner, 34, pleaded guilty yesterday to child abuse in exchange for prosecutors dropping two lesser charges. Those charges stemmed from injuries on June 5, 1998, to the head, face and neck of 5-month-old Kyra Plotner.

But police said detectives are looking into the death of another baby of Plotner's. Plotner told police that child died of sudden infant death syndrome, according to Laura Kiessling, assistant state's attorney.

"There is an investigation of this other child," Anne Arundel County police spokesman Jeff Kelly said yesterday. He said that probe began before Kyra was injured and is nearly complete. Findings will be submitted to the state's attorney's office. Other information was not available yesterday.

Charles L. Waechter, Plotner's attorney, said police have not contacted him about any other incident.

Circuit Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. revoked Plotner's $5,000 bond. He jailed him to await sentencing April 16, over protests by defense attorney Shawn Larson that Plotner never missed a court date, re- turning this week from his home in Manitowoc, Wis.

"This is a case where the defendant is going to serve some time, so he may as well get started now," Greene said.

That met with satisfaction from Kiessling, who argued that "Kyra is unprotected with her mother in Wisconsin who apparently wants to reunite with the man who did this to her."

Abuse is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The day Kyra was hurt, Plotner, formerly of the 400 block of Mainview Court in Glen Burnie, brought Kyra to Kelly Smith, who ran a home day care operation. As he dropped the baby off about 11: 15 a.m., he mentioned that she had just fallen at home and had hurt her face. Ten minutes later, Plotner called Smith, asking about bruises. Smith and her husband, a county police officer, seeing swelling and bruising bloom around the baby's head and eyes, called police, Kiessling said.

The baby was taken to North Arundel Hospital. Doctors there said she had sustained head trauma, including three finger marks by her right ear, bruising around both eyes and other scratches and swelling.

Plotner returned to the Smiths' home while police were there and gave them several accounts of what happened. In all of them, he said Kyra fell off his knee onto a tiled section of the living room floor. He said he tried to catch her and "grabbed her by the head," according to a police report.

Department of Social Services officials said they could not discuss a case.

But Kiessling told Greene that DSS ended its involvement with the family when the infant's mother, Amy Plotner, said she was separating from her husband, who was in Virginia, and moving to Wisconsin.

Pub Date: 2/02/99

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