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St. Petersburg woman charged with child abuse after infant found dead in crib

ST. PETERSBURG — A 22-year-old woman is charged with aggravated child abuse after detectives found her 6-month-old son dead in his crib Friday, police said.

Karina Welker of St. Petersburg allegedly told detectives she was "frequently frustrated by the child's crying," and sometimes shook, squeezed, and grabbed him, according to St. Petersburg police. Welker said she knew the boy, Dimitri, had suffered an injury to his arm at one point, but authorities said she told investigators she never sought medical treatment for him.

An autopsy revealed several injuries, including broken bones in the baby's arm, clavicle and ribs, police said.

St. Petersburg police Maj. Mike Kovacsev said the broken bones were old, though he was not sure when the injuries happened. On Friday, the baby had no obvious visible injuries, according to Kovacsev.

He said Welker told detectives she had been trying to get the baby to stop crying sometime Friday. When officers arrived at the home on Sixth Avenue S about 6 p.m., Kovacsev said, Dimitri had probably been dead for no more than a few hours.

"She was trying to get the baby to stop screaming … and tried to close the baby's mouth to get it to stop screaming," Kovacsev said.

Welker, her boyfriend, and the baby had only lived at the home on Sixth Avenue S for about a month, Kovacsev said.

Before, he said, they may have been living out of a car. Detectives are working with the State Attorney's Office and the Department of Children and Families on the case.

More charges are pending a determination on the infant's cause of death. Welker does not have previous charges in Florida.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Contact Zachary T. Sampson at zsampson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Follow @zacksampson.

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