Mother and her boyfriend charged with murder in girl's death

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The mother of a slain 23-month-old girl, who police say was beaten and shaken to death over a two-month period, and the mother's live-in boyfriend were charged Monday with second-degree murder.

Tammy Yates, mother of Alexis Smothers, was also charged with three counts of child endangerment. Yates' boyfriend, Bobby L. Matthews, faces three counts of felony child abuse.

Yates, 22, was arrested Monday and was being held in the Independence city jail on $250,000 bond pending her arraignment on Tuesday.

Matthews, who also uses the name Jason Burnhardy and variously gives his age as 29 and 23, was arrested Thursday after police were called to the couple's apartment and found Alexis unresponsive.

She died the next day after being removed from life support.

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