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Bismarck woman charged with murder in 5-year-old's death

Court documents alleged Rolanda Doyle forced the child to sleep in the entryway of a home, resulting in the child getting frostbite. She also allegedly beat the child.

Rolanda Doyle.gif
Rolanda Doyle.
Burleigh Morton Detention Center photo
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BISMARCK — A Bismarck woman arrested in connection with the February death of a 5-year-old now faces a murder charge.

Rolanda Ann Doyle, 40, appeared Tuesday, June 21, in Burleigh County District Court on felony charges of murder and child abuse.

Bismarck police responded at about 9:20 p.m. Feb. 18 to a report of a child who was not breathing. The child, identified as Geremy Doyle, was taken to St. Alexius Hospital and was pronounced dead.

Police noted in court documents that Geremy, who was in Doyle's care, had bruises on various parts of his body, including around both eyes. The child also had open sores on his leg and both knees, as well as what appeared to be frostbite on his toes and left ear, court documents said.

Geremy’s sibling and another child who lived in the home told police Doyle “beat” or “whooped” the victim in the past, according to court documents. Several children also said Doyle made the 5-year-old sleep in the home’s entryway, which had poor insulation and was not heated, court documents alleged. Doyle moved Geremy inside to sleep in her room two weeks before his death after noticing he had frostbitten feet, court documents alleged.

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The woman also made Geremy walk up and down the hallway as punishment, resulting in the child falling and hitting his head, according to court documents. Video recovered from Doyle’s phone showed Geremy on Feb. 18 walking around the home, “clearly suffering from a concussion or other traumatic brain injury,” police said in court documents.

Police said Doyle neglected Geremy’s need for medical attention and assaulted him with a belt and forced him to sleep in an “uninhabitable environment,” according to court documents.

Geremy’s cause of death was ruled battered child syndrome and was deemed a homicide, court documents said.

Two other adults who lived in the house, 36-year-old Russell Allen James Jr. and 19-year-old Serenity Nizhay Foots, also were charged with child neglect in connection to the case.

Doyle was charged in February with child abuse regarding Geremy's death. The charges filed Tuesday were put in a separate case. Court records did not list an attorney for Doyle in the murder case as of Tuesday.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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