(Sources posted at the end of this article)
This is a particularly sad post. While I pride myself in trying to lighten things, provide humor, or just having sarcastic relief, this is not possible in this post. There is no joy. All I have is anger and sadness. This happened in my home town in Kansas, and one of the murderers of this child was in my high school graduating class. I had a feeling then that she wouldn’t be the most successful person in the world, but what was to come just one year after graduation was far worse than anything I could have imagined.
Let me introduce you to Clayden Lee Urbanek. He is–was–a fourteen-month old healthy little boy, whom his family cherished. He was nicknamed “Clay Baby”, and his father (Jorden Urbanek) said that Clayden’s coming into the world made his life better, happier. He loved his little boy. But after he and Clayden’s mother, Brittney Betzold, broke up when Clayden was around 6 months old, Jorden only got to see his son on the weekends. When he was with his son, he’d take him on trips and Jorden worked on cars and said that Clayden seemed to be interested in that. Sometimes, Clayden would go “vroom vroom”, Jorden reminisced.
September 25, 2011 was the last day that Jorden Urbanek would see his son smiling, happy, healthy, and unharmed. On September 30, when he got to see Clayden, Clayden had a gauze on his foot and Brittney told him that a knife had fallen and landed on his foot. Perhaps it was because there was little or no abuse prior, that this did not arouse suspicion. Later, Brittney would tell an officer that saw the gauze pad on his foot that she and her son were “playing mummy.”
In anticipation for Clayden’s next visit, Jorden got a 6-week old Belgian shepherd puppy for Clayden and couldn’t wait to introduce Marley (the puppy) to Clayden. But Clayden Lee Urbanek would never get the chance to meet Marley.
The next weekend, when Jorden was supposed to have Clayden over, Brittney told him that the child would not be visiting him that weekend because he was staying with an aunt. And there was very little contact between the two during this time, which wasn’t all that unusual. Brittney was working at a local factory and was working many hours. She and Clayden were living with her boyfriend, Antonio Brown.
October 4, 2011. Paramedics rush to the home of Brittney and Antonio after Brittney calls 911 in hysterics. When the ambulance arrived, Clayden was lying on the floor, pale and cold to the touch. He was rushed to the Salina hospital, but then transferred to a larger hospital in Wichita, and it was there, on that very day, that Clayden Lee Urbanek died.
What happened? Clayden had so many injuries to his small body. There was so much bruising all over his body that had to have taken place over the span of days–during the time that no other family members knew what was going on or had contact with Brittney. Medical professionals described Clayden’s injuries as the worst that they had ever personally seen regarding child abuse cases. Some of the bruising that he had was caused by enough force that it would have been similar to Clayden having been in a car accident–and he never was. A pediatric surgeon said that the extent of Clayden’s injuries was so severe that even none of the surgeons had seen anything like it.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life”, said one pediatric surgeon.
And emergency surgery had to be performed on Clayden’s distended abdomen (caused by something being knocked against it and/or Clayden being kicked–it was estimated to be about 10 blows/kicks), and 12 inches of his intestines had died and had to be removed. There were also three other internal tears causing significant bleeding that had to be repaired. Despite resuscitation attempts, he died a mere 45 minutes after the surgery. And though the abdominal injuries that little Clayden suffered were the ultimate cause of death, his entire body was covered in deep bruises and scrapes. It was reported that the bruises on his buttocs were a deep purple, and then turned black and there was visible tissue damage around one inch deep.
In just a few short days (the more serious injuries happening within 24 hours of his death), Clayden suffered at least 60 bruises/scrapes on his head and neck (12 being on his scalp), 26 external injuries to his abdomen/torso and then another 20 injuries on his limbs. This was reported by the person who performed the autopsy on Clayden, and she admits that this is a conservative (small) estimate as there were so many injuries to this poor child.
Both Brittney and Antonio were arrested and tried for murder in the first degree, along with a slew of other charges, such as child endangerment and failing to protect the child.
They day that Clayden died, Antonio Brown called Jorden Urbanek and told him to go to the hospital because something bad had happened and he told Jorden that he loved Clayden and never and would never hit him. But all of the facts say otherwise. He is currently awaiting sentencing after having escaped the Saline County jail for a few days before being apprehended and is facing a charge for that as well. I can only hope that he never gets out of prison. As for Brittney, she was sentenced to 13 years for second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder. 13 years for helping to destroy her own flesh and blood, ripping apart a family, and denying her child all of the experiences that he will never have–graduation, first date, maybe even marriage and children. Clayden will never have these experiences. His last days in this life were Hell on Earth, caused by those who were supposed to protect and love him most.
Rest in peace, dear Clayden Lee Urbanek.
Photos of Clayden Lee Urbanek
Best Memory: His Smile – Salina.com
Salina Woman Sentenced in Young Son’s Death – KAKE News
Beaten To Death – Salina.com
Salina Woman Pleads Guilty In Son’s Death
Salina Infant Had No Food Or Electricity Before Death – KWCH News
Clayden Lee Urbanek’s Obituary
Forum 1 discussing the case with more sources
Forum 2 discussing the case with more sources