Dexter couple charged in death

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

DEXTER -- A Dexter couple was charged with the murder of their 5-month-

old son over the weekend.

According to Stoddard County Sheriff's Department, on Saturday the child's father, Ben Earl Handy, 23, was charged with class A felony murder in the second degree and two counts of class A felony armed criminal action while the child's mother, Dara Vaughn, 22, was charged with class A felony armed criminal action. Both Handy and Vaughn were charged with class A felony abuse of a child resulting in death and class C felony endangering the welfare of a child.

On May 25 at 4:48 a.m., Dexter Police Department officers responded to 1026 N. Woodland Drive in Dexter in reference to an unresponsive 5-month-

old Davonte Handy of Dexter. The child was transported to Missouri Southern Healthcare and then flown to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where he later died as a result of his injuries. Following the autopsy, the Stoddard County Major Case Squad was activated and the child's parents were placed in custody.

Handy and Vaughn are being held without bond at the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department.

The Stoddard County Major Case Squad includes Dexter, Bernie, Advance and Puxico Police Departments, Stoddard County Sheriff's Department, Stoddard County Juvenile Office, Missouri Department of Children Services and Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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