A small group of people met at a church in Grand Haven Saturday to mourn children who have died of shaken baby syndrome. Three West Michigan babies have died of the severe brain injury over the past month.
The inspiration for the vigil was eight-month-old Scarlett Marie Burroughs, who died on Nov. 17. Cameron Toppen, 19, the boyfriend of Burroughs’ mother, Rachel, is charged with Scarlett’s murder.
“He just ruined his whole life over something so small as just putting her down and walking away,” a tearful Burroughs said at Second Reformed Church on Waverly Avenue.
The vigil also celebrated the lives of two other children who died of shaken baby syndrome. The families connected with the Burroughs following Scarlett’s death.
“It’s amazing that we can do something like this and just come together even if we don’t know each other and just celebrate these babies that passed away,” Burroughs said.
Melissa Yahne, Scarlett’s aunt, said she will continue raising awareness for shaken baby syndrome. She hopes to stop other parents from making the tragic mistake.
“It never killed a baby to cry,” Yahne said. “Put the child down, walk away, go outside, take a deep breathe.”
This article was originally published by GrandHaven.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.