‘Anatomy Of A Bad Confession’: The Medical Evidence

2008 photo of Nga Truong and Khyle


It’s all over the WBUR homepage today, but just in case that’s not on your usual online route, here’s an added signpost: Check out uber-reporter David Boeri’s frightening investigation into a young Worcester girl’s coerced confession that she had killed her baby, “Anatomy of a Bad Confession.”

My reaction: The only nightmare worse than losing a child is being accused of the child’s murder — and somehow confessing to an unthinkable crime you never committed. There’s a medical element as well — strong evidence that the baby could have died of natural causes. David writes:

That videotape was of crucial significance to the case. The police had no other evidence other than the confession. There were no witnesses, the autopsy report was inconclusive, and the 13-month-old boy, Khyle, had strep throat, tracheobronchitis, indications of a fever and a history of respiratory problems, including asthma, at the time of his death. When the judge, Janet Kenton-Walker, threw out Truong’s statements to police, she wrote that Truong “was a frightened, meek, emotionally compromised teenager who never understood the implications of her statements [to police].”

and:

Pageau knows, as he will later testify, that at the time of this interrogation the manner of Khyle’s death is “undetermined.” The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy just a few hours earlier has stated no cause of death. The child has shown no sign of injuries and his elevated body temperature after death (101 degrees Fahrenheit one hour after being declared dead) indicates, as Truong said, that her baby had a fever. And Khyle had a history of asthma. But in the box, the detectives betray no doubt.

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  • Debhulbh

    Details from the autopsy provides one with the facts, which many people writing comments on other sites obviously do not have access to or chose to ignore. The child had a body temperature of 101,1 hr after death, this oyung mother told these over the top zealous crazed cope this, this child had a Bronchial Condition and more.
    Others have written” the mom admitted”. No she did not admit, she said over and over and over again, I didn’t do that, I didn’t, please I didn’t, stop I Didn’t. One begs the question how our socety jumps to such harsh conclusions without full access to all of the facts. What this video does show is how aggressive men strong armed a young 16 yr old girl into confessing to something she did not do. Shame on them, they truly are a disgrace and one of them has been promoted. This happens when the police force want to get someone like him out of more disastrous harms way for the future. What a joke? Promoted, yeah right?!?!
    Some in their comments say they “may”have been forceful. May have been? I mean really, they , these over the top bullies, railroaded and bamboozled that poor distraught young Girl. They ignored her pleas that she did not do what they were accusing her of, without any shred of evidence, just over the top zealous bullies. They promised her that she would get out of this by
    just confessing, she was 16 and entirely at their mercy and they abused their power.
    One commenters said in the telepgram in Worcester or some such place that that is a big thing to to “invent” that she said that she did it. But that is exactly what these over zealous 2 so called policemen did, for some insane reason they invented all of it, it is an abomination and disgusting to watch. It is a disgrace and a complete dereliction of duty. That they subjected that poor girl to that. Shame on them. And that is why our prisons are filing up with such so called criminal, theyare not criminals and she should sue and sue for damages not just for herself but for the countless others who have been bamboozled and will be in the future by our so called law enforcement. There are good cops and these guys give the whole force a bad name. Enough with the bullying whatever happened to due process and innocent until proven guilty and working with the communities. all of that seems to be another era with these over the top police ‘force’. One would think that they held stocks in the prisons ( which incidentally trade on the stock market and people who hold such stocks make money off of the backs of such as this young girl illegally detained for 2 yes plus) it is a disgrace and must not be commonplace, unfortunately, many youngsters are railroaded and bamboozled into confessing to bigger and greater things than they truly were ever guilty of. And our prisons are filling up and cops are making quotas off of the backs of our fellow citizens it is unconscionabLe and highlights a huge prob.lem with our “just ice ” system. It is beyond comprehension that people would not be outraged and call their police departments when such appalling abuses happen and call their congressman and senators. It is only a matter of time before it falls our our own doorstep if we stay silent. Always such abuses must be shouted from the treetops and beyond.