Vaden pleads guilty in 2017 child abuse death case


A Carl Junction man pleads guilty in a 2017 child abuse death case. 

Jalen Vaden took responsibility in the death of three year old Jayda Kyle. Today he pleaded guilty in the case, ending a long legal case that started back in 2017.

“Are you pleading guilty in this case because you are in fact guilty?” asked Judge Michael Cordonnier.

“Yes,” says Jalen Vaden.

That guilty plea ended more than a year of investigation, hearings, and motions.

Jasper County Prosecutor Theresa Kenney called it a complicated, tragic case.

“The plea agreement was reached after extensive negotiation by both the state and the defendant and with the approval of both of the parents of Jayda Kyle,” says Kenney.

Vaden pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death – in exchange the state dropped a charge of second degree murder and agreed to 22 years in prison.

“Jayda’s death was the result of reckless action. Jalen had no intent to hurt or injure Jayda, and unfortunately that does not change the outcome,” says Tracey Martin, Vaden’s attorney.

The 23 year old answered a series of questions from the judge about his role in the death. The prosecutor also told the judge about their potential case – everything from the 911 call in November 2017 to the autopsy. It included how Vaden described becoming angry with Kyle and throwing her first to the ground, then on her bed, then again on the ground.

Kenney added the detail that he gave in his confession to detectives matched all physical evidence found at the crime scene.

“Jalen continues to assert that his confession was not accurate or truthful. However, he does take responsibility for the reckless, tragic accident that resulted in the death of a beautiful child. He feels extreme guilt and remorse,” says Tracey Martin.

“It is our hope that everyone affected by this senseless loss of life will be able to find some peace and closure with the plea agreement that was reached today,” says Theresa Kenney.

Authorities where called to the Carl Junction home where both Kyle and Vaden lived a little more than a year ago. The three year was taken to a Kansas City hospital where she later died of head trauma. Both attorneys add the social media response complicated the case, making the investigation more difficult and the death even more painful for family and friends.

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