Macon grandmother charged with murder in child’s death

The discovery of a Macon 11-year-old dead in a van led to her 49-year-old grandmother being charged with felony murder and two counts of child cruelty.

Ruth Baldwin was pronounced dead at 4:45 p.m. Thursday in a van at the QuickMED at 3400 Riverside Drive, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.

“She looked real bad, real bad,” Jones said. “This girl look like she had been malnourished.”

Friday morning, about a half-hour after midnight, Cynthia Diane Baldwin-McClesky of Old Holton Road was booked at the Bibb County jail on a charge of child cruelty, family violence in the first degree.

Once police learned more about the case, additional charges of felony murder and another count of child cruelty were filed against Baldwin-McClesky after 9 p.m. Friday.

Police say Baldwin-McClesky is the girl’s grandmother, but she was serving as her foster mother, said Macon Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Melanie Hofmann.

“There were visible signs of trauma and evidence of neglect of the child,” Hofmann said.

Baldwin-McClesky arrived with the child at the urgent care facility at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Jones said.

The QuickMED is in Bibb County’s jurisdiction, but investigators believe the girl died within the city limits, said Capt. Mike Smallwood of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

“This child was dead in the van, and apparently she was carrying her over there for some reason,” Jones said.

The girl’s body was sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy, and Friday afternoon’s results were pending toxicology testing, which could take weeks, Jones said.

“If this girl had a medical condition that caused her to be so tiny and small, then we need to know about it,” he said.

Macon police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death, Hofmann said.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.