A couple suspected in the killing of two children nearly a decade ago in Missouri was arrested in Oklahoma on unrelated charges. Codey and Julia Cummings appeared on Dr. Phil in 2014 claiming the children died from adverse reactions to vaccines. However, an autopsy performed on the children revealed the children died under suspicious circumstances consistent with abuse.
In June 2010, 18-month-old Darby Hodges died mysteriously in his sleep. His mother and step-father told investigators that he went to bed and never woke up. An autopsy performed on the toddler indicated signs of abuse.
The medical examiner found multiple contusions and abrasions on his head, mild brain swelling, and two broken ribs. Following the examination, the medical examiner listed the cause and matter of death as undetermined.
After Darby died, Julia, Cody, and Kiera (Julia’s daughter from a previous relationship) moved to Missouri. Only three months later, Kiera was found dead. Julia and Cody told investigators the child went to sleep and never woke up.
Again, the autopsy performed on Kiera was not consistent with her mother and stepfather’s claims. They told investigators that before her death Kiera slipped and fell in the bathroom.
However, the medical examiner found bleeding on her brain that was not consistent with a simple fall in the bathroom. The bleed would have been caused by significant trauma to her head. Additionally, Kiera had bruises on her chin, shoulders, and back. In the autopsy report, the medical examiner wrote,
“This is suggestive of but not conclusive for possible abusive treatment. The manner of death is, pending additional information, inconclusive.”
Following Kiera’s death, Republic, Missouri police began an investigation. Police knew about the death of Darby a few months before and believed the deaths could be connected.
Unfortunately, Julia and Cody did not cooperate with police. Instead, the couple fled Missouri and have been moving from state to state to avoid speaking with police.
Then in 2014 Darby’s grandmother Cheryl Hodges contacted Dr. Phil to confront the couple about the suspicious death of her grandson and step-granddaughter.
During the episode, Julia told Dr. Phil that she believed both children died from adverse reactions to vaccines. She claimed both children died within three weeks of receiving multiple immunizations.
When Dr. Phil pressed Julia to explain why she believed vaccines killed her children, she told him that her intuition told her.
Dr. Phil turned to a medical examiner and expert on autopsies to review the reports of the children. The expert believed the children likely died as a result of trauma associated with abuse. When Dr. Phil told her that the vaccine explanation didn’t make sense, Julia doubled down and insisted the vaccines were the cause.
Finally, a break in the case came earlier this week when police arrested the couple in Guymon, Oklahoma. Authorities responded to a complaint of a man selling moonshine outside of a cigarette store.
When the officer approached the couple, they found illegal alcohol and firearms. Both were taken into custody and booked in Texas County. However, authorities have not yet filed charges against Julia and Cody.
Republic police were hoping the arrest of the couple would give them the opportunity to speak to the parents. The detectives consider them suspects in the cold case. They were hoping the arrest of the couple would spark the memories of individuals associated with the couple in 2010.
Unfortunately, the police have been unable to obtain any new information in the case. As a result, the couple may be able to escape additional charges related to the deaths.
Clearly, something nefarious happened to the children in 2010. Both children showed signs of trauma and abuse after they died.
Why police were unable to connect the two cases is unknown.
The fact that the children died in separate states could have contributed to the inability to investigate the deaths properly.
Even though there are no charges filed for the death, Cheryl Hodges said she would never stop fighting for justice for Kiera and Darby.
Hodges told multiple media outlets that the deaths of the two children would be featured in an upcoming episode of Inside Edition.
What is certain is that vaccines did not cause the death of these children. Julia’s claims are unfounded and inconsistent with autopsy reports. Why she picked vaccines as the cause of death is not known.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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