A baby’s hysterical cries screamed through the home as a Friday night in March turned into a Saturday morning.
The little girl’s caregiver, Kyanna Trenier Johnson, was exhausted. She picked up the 9-month-old and shook her.
The Greenacres-area woman told a Palm Beach County sheriff’s detective she wasn’t sure how long, or how forcefully, she shook the baby.
All she knew was that the baby stopped the crying.
Within 48 hours, the baby underwent brain surgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, sheriff’s records state. She has multiple skull fractures, brain hemorrhaging and ruptures in her eye tissues. The injuries could be life-threatening, a doctor told sheriff’s authorities. By Tuesday, though, the baby’s condition had improved, a family member told The Post.
Johnson, 28, was arrested early Saturday on an aggravated child abuse charge. She was released that afternoon on a $15,000 surety bond and ordered not to have contact with the baby, who is now 10 months old.
Johnson declined to comment for this story. However, a family member said he didn’t believe Johnson ever would hurt the child.
Johnson does not appear to have a criminal history in Palm Beach County.
The Florida Department of Children and Families said it plans “to hold the individual responsible to fullest extent of the law.”
“I am absolutely appalled that anyone would abuse an innocent child this way,” Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement released late Tuesday.
A detective and a DCF investigator met with Johnson on March 26 in a waiting room outside St. Mary’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Johnson, whose relationship with the infant is redacted from sheriff’s records, said the little girl hit her head in the bathtub about a week ago. Days after, the infant barely ate, slept unusual hours and cried incessantly.
Johnson figured she had either a cold or growing pains.
A few days later, the baby’s cries became hysterical screams, Johnson said. Late March 23, or early March 24, Johnson picked the shrieking baby up from the crib and shook her.
The crying stopped.
Early on March 25, Johnson checked on the baby and noticed her diaper was wet. She positioned the baby to change her and noticed the little girl “was moaning (a) really soft, pitiful cry like a kitten or something,” she told authorities.
The baby barely could keep her right eye open. She was limp and nearly unresponsive. She called 911.
Preventing shaken baby syndrome
Doctors and researchers say education and counseling on normal infant-crying patterns and greater care for overwhelmed parents and caretakers can keep Shaken Baby Syndrome from happening. For more information, go online to www.dontshake.org/learn-more or call the
Johnson initially denied ever shaking the baby. Her live-in boyfriend, whom The Post is not naming because he does not face charges, said he hadn’t seen Johnson hurt the child. He never shook the baby, either, he said.
But when detectives spoke with Johnson again Friday — after a doctor determined the only way the baby could have sustained such seriously injured was by “severe shaking” — Johnson tearfully told a detective she never meant to hurt the baby. The detective noted in the arrest report how remorseful Johnson seemed.
Records indicate she lives just outside the Greenacres city limits near Lake Worth and Haverhill roads with her boyfriend and two other children, 8 and 3.
However, it’s unclear whether that is where she was when she shook the baby.
The child’s siblings are in the care of a relative, DCF said late Tuesday.
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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.