Time Does Not Heal All Wounds: Braxson Jones’ Story

Susan Jones is anxious to share the improvements being made by her son Braxson.

Nearly a year and a half after suffering injuries that resulted in a criminal abuse case against his father, the 2-year-old boy is gaining strength, no longer throws up eight to 12 times a day, is taking far less seizure medication, and can now smile and laugh, she said.

“He can roll over,” Jones said.

But Braxson remains blind and on a feeding tube, which he likely will rely on his entire life, she said. The boy is unable to sit up while other children his age are running around and beginning to explore the world around them.

“He’ll never walk,” Jones said. “He’ll never talk. He’ll always be at home with me.”

Braxson, who already has undergone multiple brain and eye surgeries and spent eight days in a coma, faces further surgery to rebuild his skull that had to be opened to accommodate the brain swelling from the original injuries.

“They’re deciding if they’re going to take a rib to put where the skull is,” Jones said.

All that was placed on hold for at least a short time on Monday as Braxson celebrated his second birthday at the nearby Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Department with those who first came to his aid July 24, 2016.

Criminal case against dad still pending

Jones said she was working an overnight shift as a nurse on that day when she received an early morning call from her estranged husband, Curtis Jones, saying their son was cold, stiff and not opening his eyes.

“What are you doing calling me?” she told Curtis, instructing him to call 911.

During that 911 call, 47-year-old Curtis, a former Porter County police officer, spoke to the 911 operator about mutual acquaintances and downplayed his son’s condition, according to charging information. He also requested that emergency responders not use emergency lights and sirens.

Authorities said the young boy could be heard on the recording of the 911 call displaying agonal breathing, which is characteristic of someone of the verge of dying.

The child was rushed to a local hospital and then to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where a doctor said the child suffered “the worst brain injury I have ever seen,” according to court documents.

The doctors determined that the injuries were consistent with being shaken and must have occurred near the time of the 911 call or the boy would have died before reaching the hospital, according to officials.

Curtis Jones, who is charged with felony counts of battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a person less than 14 years of age, aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent, has a status hearing scheduled for Jan. 22 before Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

He currently is living and working in Florida while his case is pending, according to Larry Rogers, his defense attorney.

He is there, at least in part, to avoid the backlash he has received on social media from Susan Jones, according to Rogers.

“He wants to avoid any conflict with his ex-wife,” Rogers said.

Susan Jones maintains a Facebook page titled Justice for Brax that features the mugshot of Curtis Jones and updates on Braxson.

Braxson gets national attention

“What a fighter Susan is,” said Marisa McPeek-Stringham, information and research specialist with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

“She’s just fighting for him to get justice,” she said. “She’s very inspiring.”

The organization was so moved by Braxson’s case that it decided to feature it as part of this year’s Giving Tuesday campaign, which is part of a national effort kicking off the charitable giving season the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, McPeek-Stringham said.

There are 1,200 to 1,400 cases of shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma reported in this country each year, and it is the No. 1 cause of child abuse death for children under age 2, she said.

Jones said she would like to see Indiana join other states in requiring new parents to watch a video of shaken baby syndrome before leaving the hospital with their newborns.

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome has a Period of Purple Crying campaign aimed at educating adults about and reducing the incidence of shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma.

Jones said she tried returning to her nursing job after being away for 15 months, but had to quit again recently after just a few months on the job when the daily care for Braxson became too much for non-professional caregivers.

“I’m fighting to get him nursing care,” she said.

Jones also is exploring ways of funding stem cell treatments at $14,000 each, which have the potential to help repair Braxson’s vision, motor skills, swallowing and alertness.

At the same time, she also is mother to another son, 3-year-old son Brantley, who joins in the caregiving as much as he can.

“He’s always kissing him, saying, ‘Love you, baby,'” she said.

Susan Jones said this is not where she thought she would be at this point in her life.

“I thought I’d be a nurse, a mom and living happily ever after,” she said. “Just a normal life.”

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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.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Fighting Shaken Baby Syndrome

Every year, thousands of infants are shaken and abused at the hands of a frustrated parent or caregiver. Frustration with a crying infant is the number one trigger for shaking and abuse of infants. Parents know and expect that their baby will cry, but most have no idea how much or how frustrating that crying can be.

In an effort to educate parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and reduce frustration, the Welcome Newborns program of the Community Action Agency in Delta County is partnering with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome CLICKS for Babies campaign.

The grassroots campaign invites local knitters and crocheters to make purple colored baby caps, which will be delivered to Delta County families between the months of September and May and a copy of the “Period of PURPLE Crying,” an evidence based program that educates parents and caregivers about normal infant crying, ways to cope with the crying and the dangers of reacting in frustration by shaking or abusing an infant.

The handmade purple caps are meant to serve as a reminder for parents about the Period of PURPLE Crying and the dangers of shaking a baby.

Click your needles together and help protect babies. Caps should be made using any shade of soft purple colored yarn and made to fit a new infant’s head. Dimensions of infant heads will vary. As a guide, the average newborn head circumference is 13 to 14 inches. Hats should be approximately four to six inches high. Refrain from including “pom poms” or any type of strap to secure caps to babies’ heads as they pose a potential choking and/or strangling hazard for babies.

Any shade of soft purple yarn can be used, additional colors can be added, but the cap should be at least 75% purple.

Participants are encouraged to knit or crochet as many hats as they would like to donate. Completed caps can be dropped off or mailed to the Welcome Newborns office located at the Community Action Agency at 507 1st Avenue North in Escanaba. Caps will be collected through the end of May. For more information, call Lannie at the Welcome Newborns office at (906) 786-7080 extension 143.

For more information about CLICK for Babies Campaign, including patterns for caps, guidelines and details about the national campaign are available at www.CLICKforbabies.org.

This article was originally written by the Daily Press. Click here to view it.

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.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

What Is SBS?

Babies bring a lot of joy, but there can also be moments of frustration if you feel like you can’t console their crying. Most caregivers handle those times just fine. But if those feelings boil over, it can cross a line.

Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse. When a baby is shaken hard by the shoulders, arms, or legs, it can cause learning disabilities, behavior disorders, vision problems or blindness, hearing and speech issues, seizures, cerebral palsy, serious brain injury, and permanent disability. In some cases, it can even be fatal.


Ever notice how long it takes babies to hold their heads up? Their neck muscles start out weak and get stronger as they grow. The same goes for their brains, which still need time to develop.

When a baby is shaken, its brain can bounce between the front and back of its skull. This causes it to bleed, bruise, and swell. It only takes a few seconds of aggressive shaking for this to happen.

What It’s Not

Shaken baby syndrome is different from gently tossing a baby playfully into the air or bouncing a baby on your knee. Though their brains and necks are fragile, babies are also unlikely to get shaken injuries by falling off furniture or making sudden stops in a car.


Being shaken affects babies in many different ways. Symptoms include vomiting, bluish skin, tremors or shakes, breathing issues, and drowsiness. Babies may also become less interested in eating; have trouble sucking, and stop smiling and talking.

You may notice bruises on the arms or chest in the places the baby has been grabbed. Other physical signs include a larger than usual head or forehead, different-sized pupils, not being able to focus, and favoring one arm or leg over another.

Babies with shaken baby syndrome may also have symptoms you can’t see, such as fractured ribs or other bones, spinal cord or neck injury, and bleeding in the brain. In mild cases, behavior, health, or learning issues show up later on.


Because shaken baby syndrome can affect so many different parts of a child’s health, there may be more than one doctor or specialist involved in the diagnosis. Depending on the child’s level of injury, the tests may be done in doctor’s offices or a pediatric intensive care unit

To check the brain, doctors may use computerized tomography, or a CT scan, to X-ray for injuries that need immediate attention. Radio waves and magnetic fields in the form of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, also show doctors detailed areas of the brain.

X-rays of other body parts, like the arms, legs, spine, and skull, show fractures and whether they were created by force or accident.

To check for eye injuries and bleeding, doctors may do an eye exam.

Some disorders can mimic the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome. To rule those out, doctors may order blood tests.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for shaken baby syndrome depends on the injury. Surgery may be needed in an emergency. Some children will need care for the rest of their lives.

Shaken baby syndrome is 100% preventable. It starts with making sure all the baby’s caregivers — parents, grandparents, baby sitters, nannies, etc. — understand two things:

  1. The dangers of shaking a baby, even for a few seconds.
  2. Those babies cry a lot at first. The National Center for shaken baby syndrome calls it PURPLE crying:
  • Peak pattern: At 2-3 months old, babies cry the most.
  • Unpredictable: Crying starts and stops without reason.
  • Resistant to soothing: Nothing stops the crying.
  • Pain-like look on face: When babies cry, they look like they’re in pain, even if they’re not.
  • Long bouts of crying: Babies can cry for hours at a time.
  • Evening crying: Some babies cry more in the afternoon and evening.

Sometimes you can stop the crying by rubbing the baby’s back, singing, using “white noise” from an app or the sound of running water, taking a walk, or using a pacifier. Sometimes nothing seems to work. That’s when you especially need to manage your feelings.

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.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.