Kalamazoo woman, fiancé in court, accused of abusing, killing 4-year-old daughter

Kelly Ballinger and her fiancé Matthew Longnecker, accused of abusing and killing her young daughter, appeared in court Monday afternoon. (Photo: Mike Krafcik/WWMT)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo woman and her fiancé, accused of abusing and killing her young daughter, appeared in court Monday afternoon.

Just after 5 p.m., a judge bound over Kelly Ballinger and Matthew Longenecker to trial on charges of felony murder and child abuse and possession of methamphetamine. Judge Tiffany Ankley granted the prosecution's request to add the drug charges after officers testified they discovered methamphetamine inside a bottle of pills inside their home.

The couple was charged back in July, after investigators say they used blankets and duct tape to restrain a 4-year-old girl to a bed, causing her death.

For the first time, the findings of the autopsy were made public Monday. According to the prosecution, asphyxiation and hypothermia were ruled as the cause of death. Judge Tiffany Ankley who is preceding over the case said this autopsy report was
"Unlike anything I've ever read,"

A responding KDPS officer, in his testimony. said when he arrived at the home on Mt. Olivet Road on July 9th, the 4-year-old girl was "Cold to the touch."

Investigators who interviewed the couple testified Monday afternoon that Matthew Longenecker and Kelly Ballinger admitted to be being on meth the night the young girl died.

The prosecution presented pictures taken at the crime scene-showing duct tape and blankets, which the couple admitted using to restrain the girl on the night of and weeks before leading up to her death.

Hours before she died, a detective testified the girl started vomiting and gasped for air, but says her mom, Kelly Ballinger, did nothing to help.

Investigators also revealed a chain of Facebook messages between Ballinger and Longenecker, revealing conversations they had about the abuse.

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