Update: Nanny Jailed For Child Abuse After Death Of 4-Month-Old

By: Mike McKnight, Brian Mastre Email
By: Mike McKnight, Brian Mastre Email

An Omaha nanny arrested last week for child abuse resulting in death is out of jail.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department arrested Sarah Cullen last Thursday night. On Friday afternoon, the Omaha nanny appeared in court. She bonded out of jail over the weekend.

Investigators say her story about what happened has changed several times.

The 24-year-old Cullen was a nanny for 4-month-old Cash Bell, caring for the boy during the day at his parents' home near 180th and Pacific. She brought the boy to Women’s Methodist Hospital last Thursday, suffering from significant head trauma. The hospital notified authorities and sent Bell by medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital where he died this past Tuesday.

Cullen was taken into custody at a friend's home near 108th and Blondo Thursday night. If convicted, she faces 20 years to life in prison. Friday, Judge Lowe set bond at $50,000, meaning Cullen needs to come up with $5,000 to get out before trial. Someone posted that bond over the weekend. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 3rd.

Investigators say she told them three reasons why the boy was injured, that he bumped his head on a door, fell out of a swing and fell at the bottom of the stairs. "There was significant head trauma," said Douglas County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Marty Bilek, who added doctor conclusions will be a big part of this case at trial.

Cash Bell

Bell had two skull fractures, bruising and bleeding on the brain. Prosecutors say he died of blunt force trauma.

Cullen has a 6-year-old of her own with a birthday this weekend. She is also five months pregnant. Judge Lowe ordered her to have no contact with any child under the age of 16 other than her own.

Her attorney says she is devastated by the death. "We're going to see what the evidence is here, but I hope people don't jump to a judgement on this," said Joe Howard. "Horrible things happen and sometimes it's not anyone's fault or it's an accident."

Hours after her supporters left court, Bell's parents held a visitation at Heafey Heafey Hoffmann Dworak & Cutler mortuary.

Many are wondering what happened that caused the injures to the boy. Was he shaken to death? Or something else? Experts say there's a lesson in this for all of us. When kids cry, it can be frustrating.

"I would suggest having a good support system, having someone to call," said Jana Habrock with the Child Saving Institute. "Make sure the baby knows they are safe, put them in the crib and walk away for 30 seconds and take a deep breath."

Channel 6 News has learned the home had a nanny camera, so if family and friends had a log-in they could watch in real time. The camera did not record. Investigators also say there are other witnesses in this case.

Funeral services for Bell were at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at 84th and Pacific at 10 a.m. last Saturday.

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