An eight-month-old baby is at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. Police say they believe the infant was shaken by her babysitter. The babysitter in the case has been lodged in the Jackson County Jail.
She’s been charged with assault one, but depending on the baby’s condition, those charges could change.
“I’m heartbroken. Completely heartbroken,” the baby’s mother said.
Angelica Cadwallader’s heart sank when she received a phone call last Friday afternoon telling her that her 7-month-old — now 8-month-old — baby was unconscious.
“I never thought in a million years I’d get a 911 call like this… my goal has always been to protect my baby girl,” Cadwallader said.
Cadwallader says baby autumn was being watched by an old friend in Medford while she was at work.
“I trusted her… 110 percent I gave her all my trust,” Cadwallader said.
Medford Police say they believe Autumn was shaken by her babysitter.
“Serious concerns when we have an unconscious 7-month-old child. It raises a lot of red flags and concerns that we have,” Lieutenant Kerry Curtis said.
According to police, detectives determined it wasn’t an accident.
25-year-old Alicia Gunn has been charged with assault one and was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday.
“Putting your child in the trust into somebody else to take care of your child and then to learn that something terrible has happened… is… I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I’m sure it’s absolutely devastating to them,” Lieutenant Kerry Curtis said.
Cadwallader says she’s trying to remain positive.
“She was like a firecracker. She was so happy and she just learned to crawl… always on the go since she learned to crawl,” Cadwallader said.
And she says she’s doing all she can to stay strong for her baby girl.
“I hope that… I get to bring her home soon,” Cadwallader said.
Police say Autumn is still suffering from seizures and bleeding in the brain.
If you’d like to help the family, you can find the GoFundMe link here.
One of the biggest factors leading to Shaken Baby Syndrome is a caregiver just getting frustrated with a baby’s crying and ultimately shaking the baby.
Educators like Tracy Hanson say it’s important to know how to handle a child going through a period of what is called ‘purple crying’ – a phase in a baby’s development when they cry the most.
“The most important thing is to place your baby in a safe environment and step away if we’re feeling frustrated or if we’re feeling overwhelmed because we know that a crying baby truly is one of the things that can lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome,” Providence Birthplace Educator Tracy Hanson said.
According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, there are around 1,300 reported cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome every year and upwards of 80 percent of survivors suffer lifelong disabilities.
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Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.