A Mother Is Still Waiting For Answers After The Death Of Her Baby

A mother who lost her newborn baby to a string of unthinkable and ‘sinister’ injuries is still waiting for answers six years after his death.

Michael Smedley was only five months old when he died following traumatic head under suspicious circumstances in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, in 2012.

An autopsy later revealed he had 26 bruises and cuts on his little body, damage to his anus, blood on his nappy, and had injuries consistent with ‘shaken baby syndrome’, when he died.

His mother Tayla Smedley – who was only 16 when her son died – has been forced to endure years of legal roadblocks including forensic inadequacies and the suspension of the lead detective in the case.

‘They [the DPP] keep saying there’s not enough evidence, but I don’t understand how much more evidence they need than what’s already been presented,’ Ms. Smedley told ABC.

‘I love my girls but it breaks my heart when they bring up Michael because I can’t tell them they will grow up without their older brother.’

The heartbroken mother had been unable to care for her son leading up to his death as she was ‘living in her car’ but said Michael was a happy baby.

‘He always smiled, he always laughed, there wasn’t really a sour bone in his body,’ she said.  

Michael had been in the care of Ms. Smedley’s friend Tamara Cole and her partner Oliver Deighton who has been the only person of interest in the case in six long years.

Mr. Deighton was alone with Michael in the hours before the boy became unconscious, before Ms. Cole returned home to collect the child and take him to daycare.

He said he left Michael alone on a changing table while he went outside as a friend had come to collect a set of car keys.

Mr. Deighton said when he re-entered the room he saw Michael slide towards the edge of the table and topple over head first.

He said he caught the boy before he hit the ground but the baby began jerking and hiccupping.

An hour later when Mr. Deighton went to retrieve Michael after Ms. Cole came home he noticed the baby was not breathing and his body had become limp.

Michael was pronounced dead just after 4pm at Alice Springs Hospital – more than six hours after he slid off the changing table.

Hemorrhaging on Michael’s eyes and swelling on his brain are symptoms of shaken baby syndrome but blood was also found in his nappy and a swab appeared to show sperm, the inquest heard.

The inquest also found a CT brain scan was performed shortly before he was pronounced dead and a pediatrician was of the view Michael had been ‘shaken vigorously’. 

A doctor at the time also described bruising found on the sole of Michael’s foot as ‘sinister’, the inquest heard.

Medical disagreement over the cause of Michael’s death sparked the coronial inquest but it did not result in much-needed closure for Ms. Smedley.

‘I want Michael to have justice, I want people to know that it wasn’t an accident, I want him to be remembered for all the right reasons and not all the wrong,’ Ms. Smedley told the publication.

Mr. Deighton was called to give evidence on the final day of the inquest in December 2016.

But he was withdrawn as a witness when he refused to answer questions, stating his responses might implicate him in Michael’s death, which he was entitled to do. 

Mr. Deighton works as disability caretaker and was questioned by police but never charged. 

It is believed he still lives in Alice Springs. 

This article was originally published by DailyMail.com.

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.

‘Masquerade’ To Help Fight Shaken Baby Syndrome

A romantic evening with music, hors d’oeuvres and formal dress is planned for Saturday, with proceeds going to two non-profit groups.

The first Masquerade 2018 will be 8-11 p.m. Saturday at Rabbittown Trade Center, 36 College St. The event is a fundraiser for both Reagan’s Rescue Fund and First Gig Rock N’ Roll Camp for Kids.

People are required to dress up in formal or semi-formal clothing, and to wear masks.

“This is a good time for people to get together for Valentine’s Day and to get dressed up,” said Derek Sanders, an organizer along with his brother, Neil Culpepper.

Only 200 tickets will be available, Sanders said, and they’re selling quickly. He expects the event to sell out.

Musical performances will be by Dustin Danger, Andy Moreillon, Love Sign and the Brass Junkies. There will be a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres available, and after-hours will be held at the nearby Shovelhead Saloon.

Sanders stressed this is not a costume party, but masks are suggested and will be available for purchase.

“It will be very beautiful and very elegant,” Greg Williams said. He and his wife, Marsha, are helping with the decorations.

Rabbittown is the perfect venue with its lights, exposed brick, and varnished hardwood floors, he said. Although the dress is formal, Williams said a nice suit, instead of a tuxedo, is OK for the men; his wife plans to wear a long gown.

Referring to the brothers, he said, “They wanted to do something for the organizations in town. In their differing ways, they cater to young people and they felt it was a good fit.”

At the event, information about Reagan’s Rescue and First Gig will be available.

Williams is the grandfather of Reagan Emery Williams, who died July 2, 2006, at age 1 ½ years, the victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

“This gives us an opportunity to share information about Reagan’s Rescue. We’re excited about this possibility,” he said. The fund’s goal is to educate people about the syndrome.

The group’s latest project is to distribute posters around town warning: Never shake a baby.

After 11 years, the project sometimes stalls, but then something like the Masquerade comes along, and revitalizes it, he said.

Also at the event, Peter Blackmon, general manager of the David S. Palmer Arena, will have information about First Gig, which is sponsored by the arena and Danville Area Community College.

The young people work with professional musicians, learn about instruments and being in a band, how to put on a rock show and learn about the record industry.

Sanders, a salesman at Carmack Car Capitol, said his brother came up with the idea for “Masquerade.” Culpepper is a hair stylist in Champaign, and has lived in St. Louis and Chicago. The brothers are from Oakwood.

When Culpepper went to Danville’s Festival of Trees, Sanders said, “He was amazed at how well Danville did this. He wanted to do something formal, too.”

When it came time to choose the charities, Sanders said he’s passionate about First Gig. “It’s amazing to watch the kids come together and do something positive,” he said, adding, it keeps them out of trouble.

As for Reagan’s Rescue, Sanders said, “Greg’s passion for the cause 12 years later is what impresses me.” Sometimes, people beat the drum, but then drop the cause after a while — but not Williams.

Sanders said they plan on doing the event again next year, and plan on keeping it intimate at just 200 people. Next year, Reagan’s Rescue and First Gig will be the beneficiaries again.


“Masquerade” tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple. Tickets may be purchased at the David S. Palmer Arena box office or from Derek Sanders at Carmack Car Capitol. They also may be ordered online at www.palmerarena.com.

If available, tickets will be sold at the door, but organizers expect the event to sell out in advance.

Learn more about Reagan’s Rescue Fund at www.reagansrescuefund.com

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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.