Prosecutors plan to look at a possible manslaughter charge against the Farmington woman who is accused of knowingly leaving her toddler with a boyfriend charged with killing the child.
At a Thursday pretrial hearing for Lia Pearson, 37, Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Karen Kugler said she recently received the final autopsy reports for Genesis Xiong, and that she wanted to explore the possibility of a manslaughter charge against Pearson.
Pearson is charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of child endangerment in the February death of her 18-month-old daughter.
Kugler also said that based on the autopsy results, authorities would not pursue any criminal sexual conduct charges against Pearson's boyfriend, Leb M. Meak.
Meak, 35, of Maplewood, was charged in February with second-degree murder for allegedly beating Genesis to death. The criminal complaint had indicated that the girl may have been sexually abused.
Kugler told Pearson's attorney, Bruce Rivers, at Thursday's hearing that she would not extend any plea offers to Pearson until she could meet with the medical examiner about the autopsy results.
Pearson saw bruises on her daughter and had been warned by Meak's two sons that she was being abused, Kugler told Rivers.
"We are looking at manslaughter with her, seriously," Kugler said.
"Perhaps she was afraid of him?" Rivers said of his client's relationship with Meak.
"There's nothing anywhere that indicates that," Kugler said.
Authorities found Genesis unresponsive Feb. 12 in the Maplewood home Meak shared with his parents. Meak told authorities he had been caring for the girl for about 2 1/2 weeks and that he may have "roughed her up a little bit."
According to the criminal complaint against Pearson: Meak's two sons, ages 8 and 12, from a different relationship had told Pearson that their father hit Genesis. Meak's 8-year-old son told police that Pearson "acted worried but then told them not to tell their dad that they told her, or he and his brother might get in trouble."
The younger son said the abuse was loud and frequent. The older son told police that Genesis had visible bruises on her head and arms.
In an interview with police, Pearson allegedly said the boys told her, "Can you take [Genesis] home, please?"
Pearson told police she knew Meak for five years but began dating him last August, and that she saw a bruise on Genesis' forehead on Feb. 1, the complaint said. Genesis also developed bruising on the side of her face and two black eyes, Pearson allegedly told police.
A review of Meak's recorded jail phone calls showed that Pearson allegedly called him multiple times, told him she forgave him and said that she had enlarged a picture of him to poster-size.
In an April interview with the Star Tribune, Pearson said that she didn't believe Meak's sons because she thought they were jealous of Genesis.
"I did not know about [any] abuse because I believed everything [Meak] had said to me," she said during the interview. "When he said he hit her head on the weight set, I believed that. When he said she hit her head on the table, I believed that."
Pearson's next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31. Meak is scheduled to stand trial in December.