A man charged in the death of his infant son will face trial in the shaken baby syndrome case.
District Judge Marcena Hendrix on Friday ordered Missael Valadez, 18, to trial in the 3-month-old’s death in late August. A trial date will be set later.
Valadez has been charged with child abuse resulting in death.
William Seaton, an Omaha police officer with the department’s special victims unit, testified Friday that the boy, Sebastian Valadez, suffered “massive’’ injuries.
He said that Missael Valadez’s girlfriend left him in charge of Sebastian while she attended school and work Aug. 25.
About 5½ hours into his time watching the baby, Seaton said, Valadez called his girlfriend, saying Sebastian was unresponsive. She then called 911.
Later, Seaton was told by doctors at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center that the boy was suffering from shaken baby syndrome, the officer said. He was also told that the baby suffered severe brain trauma and dual detached retinas.
Seaton said Valadez told him that Sebastian would not quit crying, so Valadez said he yelled at the boy and shook him “rather hard,’’ forward and backward. Seaton said Valadez demonstrated on a doll how he shook the boy.
“At one point,’’ the officer said, “Valadez said he shook the child as hard as he could’’ for about 90 seconds, and the crying ended.
Sebastian was declared brain-dead that day at the hospital, Seaton said, and he was taken off life-support two or three days later.
Two weeks before the incident, Seaton said, the baby rolled off a bed and was taken to a hospital. It was determined that the infant was not injured.
The officer also said he listened to jail calls from Valadez to his girlfriend.
In one call, Seaton said, “She asked him ‘Why did you do it? How many times have I told you not to do that?’” Seaton said.
“Valadez told her, ‘I get frustrated sometimes. I didn’t know I would hurt him,’” the officer said.
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Shaken baby syndrome — also known as abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, inflicted head injury or whiplash shake syndrome — is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.
Shaken baby syndrome destroys a child’s brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen. Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or death.
Babies have weak neck muscles and often struggle to support their heavy heads. If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.
Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver severely shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger — often because the child won’t stop crying.
Shaken baby syndrome isn’t usually caused by bouncing a child on your knee, minor falls or even rough play.
Even brief shaking of an infant can cause irreversible brain damage. Many children affected by shaken baby syndrome die.
Survivors of shaken baby syndrome may require lifelong medical care for conditions such as:
- Partial or total blindness
- Developmental delays, learning problems or behavior issues
- Intellectual disability
- Seizure disorders
- Cerebral palsy
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.