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Exclusive: Savers employee reports signs of alleged abuse before death of Ogden toddler

Posted: 9:30 PM, Sep 01, 2014
Updated: 2014-09-02 10:21:51-04
Exclusive: Savers employee reports signs of alleged abuse before death of Ogden toddler

WEBER COUNTY, Utah -- It's been one week since police say a toddler was murdered in an Ogden motel, allegedly by the mother's boyfriend. Now, two women who saw the child before her death are speaking out.

They believe police should have stepped in sooner and the death could have been prevented.

The two women worked together at a Savers Thrift Store, located at 3833 Washington Blvd.

The baby was with her mother, two brothers and boyfriend Adam Barney shopping on Aug. 6. The two women say the child appeared neglected, dirty and bruised.

Employees first noticed 14-month-old Kensie Rose Labuy left in a stroller alone at the end of an aisle for at least 10 minutes.

Savannah Favilla took a closer look.

"She had multiple bruises on her arm, a big bump right her on the side of her head," Favilla said.

Favilla called 911.

South Ogden police responded to the store and questioned the child's mother and Barney inside the store.

"He gathered everyone together, checked the kids out, didn't notice any bruising, signs of abuse at that time," said South Ogden Chief Darren Park.

Just over two weeks later, on Aug. 25, police found the toddler dead inside the Western Colony Inn, an Ogden motel where the child's mother, boyfriend and two other kids were living.

Ogden Police say Adam Barney snapped, frustrated by kids misbehaving and dirty living conditions, and beat Kensie Rose to death. Employees at the South Ogden Savers were stunned when they saw Barney's mug shot in a text message.

"I was like ‘oh my god,’" cried Jade Barker. "I wished we would've done more for her because it was very obvious what was going on."

"It wasn't something I just made up," Favilla added. "That baby was clearly yelling for help and they didn't give it to her."

The chief said the officer has been affected by the baby's death.

"He's been reflecting on it and continues to reflect on it, ‘what could I have done different,’" Chief Park said.

But in the end, South Ogden police don't believe they could have legally taken further action. Investigators claim Savannah Favilla didn't want to be contacted so they had no one to follow up with and police say the evidence didn't warrant contacting the Utah Division of Child and Family Services to remove the toddler from her family.

"If we're unable to identify anything and we don't have someone saying, 'No, there's the bruise I'm talking about, this is what I'm seeing right here,' it does add some complication to it, but before you're gonna remove someone's child from their custody or care you're gonna need some strong evidence that something is going on there and when we run into situations where we do have evidence we don't hesitate contacting DCFS and start an investigation," Chief Park said.

The girl's mother, Kaci Rupert, previously told FOX 13 there were no warning signs of abuse. But the two Savers employees don't believe that and neither does the child's biological father. James Labuy said Monday he suspects Kensie Rose was abused before her death and he hopes both Ogden and South Ogden police will work together for justice for his daughter.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 6, the South Ogden officer told Favilla he would run a check on Adam Barney and if future crimes occurred, Barney would be flagged in their system.

The next alleged crime was the death of the Kensie Rose.

South Ogden police say they did run on a check on Barney and there were no warrants for his arrest or similar allegations of child abuse or child neglect.

Barney remains in the Weber County jail, charged with aggravated murder, which leaves the possibility of the death penalty. He's due back in court Sept. 3 for a bail hearing.