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1.18.2011

Redding man accused of beating son with bat had history of complaints

Proceedings against Kelly are suspended while he is evaluated.

Proceedings against Kelly are suspended while he is evaluated.

When Redding police entered Geoffrey Kelly’s California Street apartment this month after he’d allegedly beaten his 8-year-old son nearly to death with an aluminum baseball bat, they were stunned at the filth they found.

Officers described encountering a rancid stench, moldy walls, piles of cigarette butts, rotting food and heaps of trash as they tracked the blood trail back to the bedroom where Kelly allegedly attacked the boy.

But it wasn’t the first time police had been alerted to deplorable living conditions at homes in which Kelly may have been living.

In fact, at least twice in recent years, police had been called to investigate filthy dwellings associated with the man.

Police reports and court records show that officers’ encounters with the 53-year-old Redding man also had taken an increasingly violent turn by the time Kelly allegedly attacked his son.

Yet it’s unclear whether agents with the local Child Protective Services office were ever called to investigate.

Officials at the Shasta County Children and Family Services office refuse to discuss their cases, saying they want to protect the privacy of the children. Citing similar reasons, officials at Redding School District, where the boy would have gone to class, also declined to say whether they ever suspected abuse.

But one of Kelly’s former neighbors says she urged officers to do something to help the boy, but they refused.

Barbara Mann, 78, said she used to live next door to Kelly at an apartment complex on Continental Street.

She said she called the police to report deplorable conditions at the home as well as the boy screaming inside.

“And I mean screaming at the top of his voice,” Mann said. “He’d just cry and cry and cry. And the apartment was so filthy. I’m telling you, you couldn’t stand it.”

Filthy conditions described

Officer Steve Morehouse described similar conditions in his report following the Jan. 5 beating inside the 2151 ½ California St. apartment Kelly shared with the boy and the boy’s mother, Heather Sieglock.

The boy’s condition improved to serious, a nursing supervisor at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento said Saturday. He had previously been in critical condition.

Kelly is being held at the Shasta County jail in lieu of $1 million bail on charges of attempted murder and child abuse.

After the alleged beating, Morehouse wrote that he followed a trail of the boy’s blood from the front door through a path of garbage, dirty clothes and food-crusted dishes to the bedroom where Kelly had first beaten the boy.

Morehouse wrote that the kitchen sink was overflowing with rancid water, rotten food and dirty dishes. Mold covered the walls.

The stench was intolerable.

The boy had been spending his nights in a sleeping bag on the floor beside his father and mother’s bed, Morehouse wrote.

The purple sleeping bag, which was covered in spatters of the boy’s blood, was resting on dirt and cigarette butts.

“The apartment, in my opinion, was unfit for anyone to live in,” Morehouse wrote.

But it wasn’t the first time that officers had made similar remarks about a residence with which Kelly was associated.

In February 2006, officers were called to an apartment on Placer Street for a report of a fight.

They found Kelly outside the home in the front yard. He was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and violating his parole.

Kelly was on parole at the time for drug- and theft-related convictions.

Officer Levi Solada wrote that the conditions inside the home were deplorable. He described dirty dishes, rotting food, piles of trash and discarded cat-food cans. Bongs and pipes adorned the dwelling, Solada wrote.

A 22-month-old boy, who wasn’t related to Kelly, lived at the home with his grandmother. Solada called CPS to take the boy into custody and he arrested the woman for child neglect.

After the incident, Kelly was sentenced to a year on probation. The report makes no mention of whether Kelly’s son lived at the home.

Another case

In September, an anonymous 911 caller urged police to investigate Kelly’s Continental Street home after the caller saw an elderly woman in a wheelchair staying there, according to Redding police dispatch logs.

“Several people stay at the home and do (drugs),” the caller told dispatchers.

“There are insects crawling all over the house.”

The Continental Street home had so many police calls for drugs and disturbances over the years that Kelly stayed there, officers were issued a warning to be extra careful when approaching the place.

But officers never had enough evidence to suggest the boy was in life-threatening danger, said Redding police Capt. Scott Mayberry.

“There had been some cleanliness issues we went to look at,” he said.

“But there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of calls.”

Kelly’s criminal history in Shasta County was relatively minor up until last year, although police say he was charged with willful injury to a child in Santa Clara County in the late 1980s and had several assault charges there.

Efforts to retrieve those court files this week were unsuccessful.

Between 2000 and 2006, in Shasta County he’d been twice charged with grand theft after he was caught stealing a camcorder from a Redding store and a couple cartons of cigarettes from another.

He’d also been charged with failing to register as someone who had been convicted of drug abuse in another county.

At one point, he’d been ordered by a Shasta County judge to attend a drug-treatment program.

His court files make numerous references to Kelly’s troubles with mental illness.

The full story

But, according to court records, after the 2006 drunk in public conviction, Kelly stayed out of trouble.

That changed on an afternoon in February of last year.

Officers say Sieglock called 911 saying he was extremely distraught and was threatening suicide.

Officers say they caught up with Kelly after he had hammered a knife into his chest near the Continental Street apartment.

Though Kelly dropped the knife, he approached officers with the raised hammer, prompting police to use a stun gun, which failed to subdue him.

Police eventually talked Kelly into dropping the hammer. He was detained and taken to a Redding hospital.

The case was still pending in court when Kelly allegedly snapped again and struck his son.

“I just lost it,” he allegedly told police.

John Scholl, a 71-year-old former child abuse investigator who retired to Redding from Santa Clara County in the late ’90s, said he hopes police and Child Protective Services agents review the case.

Scholl said that if they found they could have moved to protect the boy earlier, he hopes they’d change their polices to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I would like to know the full story to protect the next child,” he said.

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