Baby Benjamin Sargent’s Death

Posted by Paulyn on Wednesday , February   27 , 2008 at 5:36 pm

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How can these parents be so heartless?  Day after day, we read in the news about parents abusing their own children, and we just can’t figure out why they have become so callous!  I am a mother too, and each and everyday of my life, I think and worry about my children and do the best I can for them.  I cannot understand how 2 people could just ignore the agony that this child endured while they went about their own daily activities!  I feel so much pain for this baby who suffered way too much in the hands of his own parents!  Read about this news: – Journal News Story reports:

Prosecutor: Baby left to die for 8 days
Parents of 5-month-old appear in court to face first-degree murder charges, may be facing death penalty
Thursday, February 21, 2008

PEORIA – Benjamin Sargent died with his eyes open, fists clenched and strapped into a car seat after eight days without food or water, the county’s top prosecutor said Wednesday.

The 5-month-old was dropped off at his parents’ house on Feb. 4, wearing a bright-blue snow suit and strapped into his car seat. Eight days later, he was found in the same position, said Peoria County State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons during a bond hearing for the parents, who are charged with capital murder for their son’s death.

"It’s the worst case of child neglect we have seen since the turn of this century," Lyons said afterward. "(On Tuesday), I told (Peoria Police) Chief (Steven) Settingsgaard that this case even rattled me."

Charged are Tracy D. Hermann, 21, and James E. Sargent, 23, both of 3012 W. Proctor St., with two counts of first-degree murder. Additionally, the charges state the parents’ actions or lack thereof, were "brutal and heinous . . . indicative of wanton cruelty," factors that could mean they face up to 100 years in prison if convicted. 

Lyons also said he might seek the death penalty for the two and has 120 days to make such a decision. State law allows a capital charge if the accused is older than 17 and the victim is younger than 12.

"He died from starvation due to neglect from these two defendants, his parents," Lyons said, spitting out the last word with contempt.

Several courthouse employees gathered in the third-floor courtroom for the hearing; many curious as rumors had been circulating throughout the day about the case. When the two walked into the room, the idle chatter immediately stopped and all eyes stared at Sargent and Hermann. 

During the 20-minute hearing, both parents appeared before Circuit Judge Glenn Collier. Sargent said virtually nothing and carried a blank look on his face. Hermann told Collier her attorney was in Hawaii so she requested a court-appointed lawyer.

Collier ordered the two held without bond, pending a hearing Friday afternoon when it is expected that Lyons, who has indicated he will prosecute the case, will present more evidence as to why the two should not be released pending trial.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said Wednesday afternoon Benjamin weighed 10 pounds when he was found by police. He was nearly eight pounds at birth, she said.

Reading from a prepared statement, Lyons said police found the infant sitting in his own waste, all the while strapped into the seat which was in a crib.

A person who was staying at an unattached garage adjacent to the house had seen Benjamin at some point, thought it was "odd" that he was still on the living room floor after being dropped off and moved him, car seat and all, into the other room.

There Benjamin sat for eight days, most of which both Hermann and Sargent were home, "playing video games, watching TV, feeding and caring for themselves," Lyons said afterward.

Police had interviewed Sargent, who at first told them he had moved the baby "once or twice," but later conceded that he might not have moved Benjamin at all during the week, Lyons said.

"The person from the garage tells police that Benjamin was found just as he had left him eight days earlier," the prosecutor said.

Hermann’s last contact with her son was the night before police were notified. Then, she allegedly told police she "looked at the baby in the crib and presumed he was sleeping so she said she stuck a bottle between the baby and the side of the car seat so that when he woke up, he could grab it and feed himself," Lyons said in open court.
"In case the court had missed it earlier, Benjamin Sargent was five months old," he said, staring directly at Hermann.

The house, Lyons said, was in complete disarray, with clothing everywhere and spoiled food left out. The temperature in the baby’s room was nearly 80 degrees and was also filthy, he said.

Hermann then left for Iowa to meet with a man she had met over the Internet, the prosecutor said, noting that she allegedly told police "that Benjamin was not her duty and that it was James’ responsibility."   When asked if either exhibited signs of mental illness, Lyons said they showed no such signs from the state’s point of view.
"Police noted that she seemed callous and somewhat annoyed with the process, something similar to what she showed in the courtroom today," he said.

Prosecutors from Lyons’ juvenile division have already begun proceedings to permanently remove Hermann’s 3-year-old daughter from the home. That child was staying with another family member but is now in foster care with Department of Family and Children’s Services.

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Comments (10)

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Comment by Vanessa

Made Thursday, 28 of February , 2008 at 2:02 am


Comment by Paulyn

Made Thursday, 28 of February , 2008 at 2:39 am

I agree with you completely, Vanessa, they don’t deserve to be called parents! Thanks for sharing!

Comment by suzanne

Made Thursday, 28 of February , 2008 at 7:27 pm

i hadn’t read about this story here in italy and i truely wish i hadn’t read it here,right now i can only think about how much this unfortunate baby really is almost impossibile to imagine that anyone could do this to a baby

Comment by TAMMY

Made Tuesday, 8 of April , 2008 at 1:44 am

i have to say.. honestly… the death sentence is too nice of a way for these people to be dealt with.. they need to be strapped to a sitting position (in a chair) and thats it.. no food, no water.. no baths.. no nothing.. let them suffer as this poor baby has.. eye for an eye.

Comment by Christie

Made Thursday, 31 of July , 2008 at 7:20 am

This is so disgusting. I have a 4 month old son and this just breaks my heart. We have a group of people emailing Nancy Grace to get this on her show. She know’s how to take care of business. The more people to shoot her an email about this case I think the better. Come on people….let’s do this for poor little Ben!

Comment by Stephanie

Made Thursday, 31 of July , 2008 at 11:58 am

omg. i seriously hope these people never get out of prison and never get to eat again. that poor baby. how hard is it to give the baby to someone who would care for it? i am a married 21 year old with a 2 year old and 10 month old & they have everything in the world. i would have totally taken this child had someone come up to me saying they didnt want it anymore.
so many people want babies and cant have them. its so easy to get rid of your child had you thought it wasnt for you. how hard is it to drop the baby off at a hospital or police station? But she had the time to go visit some guyy. i seriously am heartbroken for all the suffering that healthy little boy did for NO reason. what did he everr do to be born to beasts like that? They are so ugly, you can tell they are horrible people just by looking at them.

Comment by Paulyn

Made Thursday, 31 of July , 2008 at 1:23 pm

Thank you for your thoughts, Stephanie and Christie.

An update on the case of the death of Baby Benjamin Sargent, states that “The prosecution has decided not to seek the death penalty in this case, citing mental health concerns and the parents each blaming the other for baby Benjamin’s death.” According to latest news, father of the child James Sargent “appears to be living in a “fantasy world” and hasn’t helped him prepare for the case”, trial date of which has been set to August 4.

Well, it looks to me they’re already slowly paying for the crime they committed. I just hope the innocent baby gets the justice that he deserves!

Comment by heather

Made Wednesday, 19 of November , 2008 at 11:40 am

I just recently have heard about this story and I cant get it out of my mind. I have cried for this little child and want to now. The first day I read it, my little one (4 months old) was sleeping and I just wanted to go and wake him and hold him. I cant even comprehend how anyone can be so mean. Just when you think you have heard it all, you then hear about something like this. I saw a picture of the child and he resembled my youngest. I try to be nice and not wish bad on people, but with these two, it is hard not to. I hope they meet some very unpleasant people in their new home and then they can see what torture is like.

Comment by Stephanie

Made Monday, 16 of May , 2011 at 5:16 pm

This is heartbreaking how can anyone in the right mind do something so horrible to a baby. I was 20 when I got pregnant and I gave up partying for my Son who is now 9 months and I am 21.. Never would I even dream of neglecting my Son. He is always beside me or I go everywhere he crawls to. My Son is my everything I feel so bad for this baby he didn’t even have a chance to crawl, talk, nothing. He couldn’t speak up or do anything. When we chose to have unprotected sex we become parents and as parents we are supposed to protect, love, feed, change, bathe, cloth, support, be there, teach and not necglect. I just don’t get it R.I.P baby Benjamin it’s so unfortunate that you suffered I can’t imagine the pain this little baby went through omg:( These SCUMBAGS don’t deserve nothing they deserve to be locked in a cell and left to starve with noone even around them to talk to because they are the WORST people I have ever seen or heard of in my entire life!

Comment by Zoe

Made Friday, 18 of April , 2014 at 7:15 am

I can’t begin to know how much pain this baby was in. When my kids get rashes their in pain. I have a 2 month old and I would never do this. this is a little baby who counts on his parents for comfort. That is the most inhuman way for a child to dye. I can’t believe they could do that. I think they should also be tied up for 8 days with no food, water or toilet breaks. I can’t believe no neighbors heard the baby screaming. there was no need for that baby to die. and now while there son is dead lying in the ground the parents get to have 3 meals, clean clothes and showers ect… they r lucky I was not their judge. they would of gotten life without parole and be ordered to have to be in the same position there son was in.I hope someone slowly tortures them. I think the time does not fit the crime. this is a helpless baby. I think the punishment should be tripled for children especially little ones. these guy are getting off easy in my book.

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