Mom accused of fatally beating daughter blamed ‘mystery woman’

Posted at 10:29 AM, March 21, 2024

WAYNE, Mich. (Scripps News Detroit) — A Michigan woman accused of killing her 8-year-old daughter blamed a “mystery woman.”

Chelsea Renee Duperon, 30, is charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of Lyla Cassel.

On March 16, Duperon called 911 to report Cassel had stopped breathing. When police arrived to the home in Wayne, it was clear the child had been assaulted. Police noted severe swelling and bruising to Cassel’s head, face and neck.

chelsea duperon appears in video

Chelsea Duperon appears by video after her arrest. (Scripps New Detroit)

Police said Duperon first claimed her daughter fell down the stairs but then her stories began to change.

Duperon reportedly told her live-in boyfriend two days earlier that a ghost or spirit assaulted her daughter. The boyfriend is not Cassel’s father.

The boyfriend said Cassel appeared to be in distress but that he figured it was her mother’s responsibility to get medical attention for her.

When talking to police further, Duperon talked about “bad spirits” and a mystery woman who appeared in their basement and assaulted Cassel days earlier.

Police said Cassel was wearing a diaper and that Duperon said it was because it was difficult for her daughter to get to the bathroom after she was injured, so she thought wearing a diaper would be easier.

At one point, Michigan State Police obtained evidence showing Duperon going to a store where she purchased the diapers, Vaseline and liquor.

It’s been alleged that Duperon has problems with alcohol and relatives said she would drink and drive with her daughter in the car, according to police.

Detectives said Duperon eventually admitted to hitting Cassel and not getting her any medical attention because she thought her condition was improving.

The medical examiner indicated Cassel died from blunt force trauma to the head.

A defense attorney, appointed to Duperon for her arraignment, said she was not the only person in the home and asked that she undergo a psychological examination while in jail.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Erin Wilmoth said the sheer brutality of what happened to Cassel was unlike anything she’s ever seen in her years of handling child abuse cases. Wilmoth also said based on conversations with the medical examiner, if Duperon had gotten her daughter medical attention the day of the assault, she could have been saved.

A judge ordered Duperon be held without bond.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.