Police Arrest Man For Death Of His Infant Child

On October 20, 2018, the six-month-old was hospitalized in critical condition in a pediatric intensive care unit. The child was pronounced deceased the next day.

Police say the child had symptoms of a shaken baby syndrome, also known as abusive head trauma, which occurs when a child has been violently enough to cause injury to the brain.

According to a release from New Haven Police, “Following a number of interviews, search warrants, and related forensic tests, NHPD Special Victims Unit (SVU) Detective Leonardo Soto obtained an arrest warrant for Ratchford on February 27, 2020.”

Rashaad Ratchford turned himself in at the New Haven Police Department on Wednesday, March 4th and faces charges of 1st-Degree Manslaughter and Risk of Injury to a Child.

In the release, Assistant Chief of Investigations Karl Jacobson was quoted as saying, “Detective Soto and other members of the Special Victims Unit used their diligence and fought for justice for the child who no longer had a voice in the matter. I commend Detective Soto and ALL the members of SVU for their tireless search for justice.”

Ratchford’s pleaded Not Guilty at an arraignment last week, where his bond was set $150,000. He is due in court again on March 31st.

This article was originally published by Fox61.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.

Toddler’s Cause Of Death Changed: Mom Still Behind Bars

At 44 years old, Tasha Shelby has spent over half of her life in prison. Convicted of capital murder in the 1997 death of her fiance’s toddler son, the prosecution and a medical examiner pointed to shaken baby syndrome.

But that same medical examiner, since retired, has changed the cause of death from homicide to accidental.

Shelby, talking to the Clarion Ledger from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County Tuesday, vows she’ll never stop fighting to prove her innocence.

On Wednesday, her attorneys and the state will make oral arguments before the Mississippi Court of Appeals. 

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is representing the state in the appeal but declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation. However, in a brief filed with the appeals court, the state argues, among other things, that the changed opinion on the cause of death isn’t new. The state also disputes the toddler’s history of seizures and maintains the child died by blunt force trauma.

Shelby’s conviction was upheld last year by Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Roger T. Clark.

The child’s father, Bryan Thompson III, who once testified on Shelby’s behalf, told the Clarion Ledger Wednesday that the toddler “never had any seizures of any kind.”

‘I made a mistake,’ retired medical examiner says

Dr. LeRoy Riddick, a retired medical examiner for the state of Alabama, performed the autopsy on 2½-year-old Bryan “Little Bryan” Thompson IV. Riddick testified at Shelby’s trial that the injuries weren’t accidental and the toddler died of “blunt force trauma to the head.” Shelby was convicted of capital murder in June 2000 and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2016, however, in a sworn affidavit Riddick wrote that, at the request of Shelby’s legal team, he reviewed the toddler’s medical records “and reexamined my own files pertaining to this case.”

In the affidavit he writes: “If, at the time of the autopsy and trial, I had known about Bryan Thompson IV’s seizures days before his collapse, I would have approached the case differently. Moreover, the forensic evidence supporting ‘The Shaken Baby Syndrome’ and severe brain reactions to minor trauma has changed significantly since 1997. Given this information, it is likely that my conclusions might have been different.”

Last week, Riddick told the Clarion Ledger that the injuries could have been caused by a fall from seizures or from being moved multiple times from the house to the hospital. 

“The major reason that I changed was I made a mistake and the mistake was in terms of the manner of death,” Riddick said. 

A thump in the bedroom

On the night of May 30, 1997, Shelby was in bed in the Biloxi home she shared with Thompson and three young children — his son, Little Bryan, her son, and their newborn.

She had given birth 10 days prior via cesarean section and was supposed to be on light bedrest. Thompson was at work and Shelby told investigators she heard a thump come from Little Bryan’s bedroom. She got out of bed, went in his room, and found the toddler convulsing on the floor.

She called Thompson and when he arrived home, the two rushed the toddler to the emergency room, driving so fast they were pulled over. Police then escorted them to Biloxi Regional Hospital, with an officer jumping into the family’s van and performing CPR on the toddler, Shelby’s attorney, Valena Beety with the West Virginia Innocence Project, said. In 2011, Beety took on Shelby’s case while with the Mississippi Innocence Project.

Within hours, the toddler was transported to the University of South Alabama Hospital in Mobile. He died the next day.

Beety said, typically, doctors look for three symptoms in a shaken baby case: Swelling of the brain, bleeding of the brain and bleeding in the retina.

In this case, she said, authorities believed the toddler had swelling of the brain and bleeding of the brain. But, she argues, the toddler had a history of seizures that, combined with a lack of oxygen, could have caused both.

Riddick agrees, saying so in the affidavit and noting that the toddler “had a seizure disorder and was having multiple seizures in the days before his death.” 

Thompson, who lives on the Mississippi Coast, is adamant that his son “never had no seizures, ever.” He told the Clarion Ledger he believes Shelby killed the toddler and regrets testifying on her behalf. But, he said, he was “trying to keep my family together.” 

“Looking back, it’s psychotic I couldn’t see what happened,” he said. 

After the toddler’s death, Thompson said he tried to kill himself. He was using cocaine and heroin, he said, overdosing 11 times. Each of the 11 times he overdosed on heroin, he was saved by NARCAN. He served time in jail and has since been involved in a drug recovery program. He’s been sober for three years, he said. 

“I relived the whole thing when I got sober,” Thompson said. “I relived it because I never really faced when I was on drugs it but it’s like the whole thing is happening again.”

Shaken baby syndrome: After 16 years, Jeffrey Havard is off Mississippi’s death row

‘No indication of real violence’

In speaking with the Clarion Ledger, Riddick said the toddler had external bruises, “but did not have an lacerations or tears.”

“The bruises were not deep in the sense that they did not go down to the muscle or anything else,” he said. “Internally, there were no fractures and there were no tears of any internal organs. So, they were not the injuries that you would think was due to violence.”

The toddler’s injuries “can be accounted for, by one, from falls from a short distance,” he said.

“The minor injuries that he had could all be accounted for by his falling from the bed from having seizures while he was there and by being moved from the house to the hospital, from the hospital to another hospital, and in the hospital,” Riddick said. 

“The minor injury with Bryan can cause the brain to swell. When the brain swells, it compresses vital centers and leads to death.The subdural hemorrhage was a small subdural. The neurosurgeon who reviewed the case said it was a small subdural…minor movement of the head can cause those but this is not the kind of injury that I testified to. A tear takes far more force.”

Because of that, Riddick changed the cause of death from homicide to accidental. The toddler’s death certificate was officially changed in June 2018. 

“It’s not totally innocuous,” he said. “All the bruises could be accounted for…I had no indication of real violence so I changed the manner of death to accident.”

The situation, Beety said, is a “double tragedy.”

“Little Bryan dies and now Tasha is in prison for life,” she said. 

Beety questioned how Shelby could have shaken the toddler in such a way to cause death. 

He was 3 feet tall and weighed approximately 30 pounds, she said. Shelby, who is 4-feet-9-inches and weighed approximately 120 pounds, was recovering from a c-section and a tubal ligation. She’d also had her stitches removed two days prior to the incident. 

In speaking with the Clarion Ledger, Shelby was advised to not talk about the specifics of the case but she maintained her innocence. 

‘I loved being a mama’

Born in Columbus, Shelby and her father moved to Texas when she was 2  years old. He remarried when she was 4 and Shelby eventually became the oldest of seven siblings. She relished the role, she said, and was the “caretaker” of the bunch. 

But then, when she was 14, her father died in a car accident. In an effort to try to reconnect with her biological mother, Shelby moved back to Mississippi. 

She dropped of of high school after 10th grade and later became pregnant with a son, Dakota, at 18. The relationship with Dakota’s father didn’t work out and Shelby was raising a young son on her own. 

She and Thompson had been friends for years and Shelby found herself drawn to the fact that he was a “good guy.”

The couple soon moved in together, got engaged and, at 21, Shelby became pregnant again. She was “super excited” for the young family to grow.

“I loved being a mama,” she said. “I had the two boys and I was having a little girl.”

Thompson had been fighting for custody of his son and, after Dakota’s third birthday, Little Bryan came to live with the couple permanently. 

“I was just a stay-at-home mama and Bryan worked and we were just doing our thing every day and that’s how I liked it,” she said. “To me, that’s just what I was always supposed to do.”

Thompson worked in lumber and Shelby stayed at home with the boys. Their days were filled with trips to feed the birds and the Biloxi aquarium — both boys like seeing the turtles — and venturing down to the beach.

About six months prior to his death, Little Bryan was burned by bath water. Beety said Shelby and Thompson took him to the hospital. The state investigated the incident and found it to be accidental.

I thought, ‘This is all going to be straightened out’ 

That first night in jail, in between the tears, Shelby said she thought “that someone was going to come and hear the truth and listen to me.”

“I thought they had made a mistake, I thought ‘Why is this happening?’ I was so confused, I didn’t understand. I was scared … I just felt so lost and alone and thought ‘This is all going to be straightened out tomorrow.’

“Of course, a cliche, but tomorrow never comes because here we are 22½ years later and nothing has ever been straightened out.”

The entire experience, she said, has been “unreal.”

When Devon was born, she had dark hair like her father, the roundness of Shelby’s face and “the Shelby nose.”

She was only a few weeks old when Shelby was arrested. 

“Everything happened so fast,” she said. “They came and took her and I was arrested shortly after that. I’ve never seen her again in real life, only in pictures.”

Newborn daughter was adopted

After the trial, Thompson gave up custody and Devon was adopted. 

Her daughter, Shelby said, doesn’t know she exists. 

“She thinks the people who have raised her are her mom and dad,” Tasha said. “She doesn’t even know that I’m somebody in this world.”

Family friends have found the young woman on social media and shown pictures to Shelby over the years. She recognizes herself in the photos.

“At this point she looks identical to me,” Shelby said. “The day we ever do get to see face to face, she’ll know without a doubt I’m her mama.”

But she hasn’t reached out to her and has asked family not to as well. She wants to be “respectful” and give her adoptive mother a chance to tell her first. She’s hopeful that day will come soon. 

“I always have a dream of this to all be over, to be vindicated and for the court to finally see and justice really prevail and to go to her and say, ‘Here I am.'”

Letters from son and a divorce

After years of not having a relationship, Dakota reached out to Shelby when he was 15 years old but the two never got a chance to reconnect in person. Two years later, he was arrested in Missouri. Mother and son wrote letters throughout their incarcerations. He got out of prison last year. He turns 26 this year. 

Sitting in prison, Shelby said she mourns the losses. 

“To me, Little Bryan was never my stepchild,” she said. “He was just a part of me, same as Dakota. I miss him tremendously, as much as I miss Dakota and Devon now.”

Shelby and Thompson married in the aftermath of Little Bryan’s death but divorced in 2016. They haven’t talked since 1998, before he testified on her behalf at trial, she said. She cited abandonment in the divorce papers. 

“I held onto a lot of things that didn’t hold on to me,” she said. 

This article was originally published by ClarionLedger.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.

Father Of Shaken Baby Has Been Charged With Murder

A father who shook and critically injured his baby more than eight years ago was hit Friday with murder charges for the child’s death.

Kashawn Butler, 26, of 69 Old River Road, was charged after his son, born Sincere Butler, died at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital on June 15, 2019. The child, who was later renamed Isaiah J. Pentz, was 7 years old.

The obituary submitted by his adoptive family in Grampian said he “smiled for the first time, taking his first steps as he ran into the arms of Jesus.”

Assistant District Attorney Jarrett J. Ferentino, the lead prosecutor, said he was committed to getting justice for Isaiah.

“As a father, child death cases are especially difficult, but I’m inspired by baby Isaiah’s fight to survive as long as he did,” Ferentino said. “Even though his time on this earth was far too short, we will pursue justice in this case.”

According to the complaint, Butler was watching his son on Dec. 4, 2011, while the mother went to a store and that the baby threw up while he was feeding him a bottle.

The baby also cried and made a noise Butler didn’t like, so he shook him, the complaint says. During questioning by police, Butler said he didn’t mean to hurt Isaiah but that the crying and spitting up had upset him, the charges say.

Isaiah, who stopped breathing as a result of being shaken, was taken to Geisinger Medical Center Danville, where doctors diagnosed him with internal bleeding consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Doctors predicted that Isaiah had a one-third chance of dying and that if he lived he would most likely be in a persistent vegetative state, the complaint says.

The complaint says that after Isaiah died, an autopsy determined he died of pneumonia and a seizure disorder caused by complications of his traumatic brain injury.

Butler was initially charged with aggravated assault and related offenses in the case, and was sentenced to five years, nine months to 12½ years in prison after pleading no contest to the charges.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Butler entered state prison Dec. 4, 2012, and was paroled Oct. 3, 2018. He was re-incarcerated Nov. 18, 2019, for violating his parole and was released again Thursday, according to the department.

However, authorities said Butler remained in custody and was set to be arraigned by video on the criminal homicide charge.

A preliminary hearing date had not been immediately set.

This article was originally published by Citizensvoice.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 awww.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Buffalo Police Claim Infant’s Death Is The Result Of Shaken Baby Syndrome

An infant who died in September in Buffalo died of shaken baby syndrome, according to Buffalo Police.

The baby is identified in his obituary as six-month-old King Jordan.

According to investigators, police responded to an apartment on Grote Street on September 20 for an infant in distress.
Two days later, Jordan died at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

The autopsy showed injuries to his neck and head from blunt force trauma and shaken baby syndrome.

So far, no one has been charged.

“The fact that the people responsible for his care were responsible for this horrific crime, they absolutely will be held responsible and should be,” said Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo.

Authorities say no arrests have been made in connection with his death.

Police say this remains an active investigation.

King Jordan’s obituary says he was six months old. It can be read here.

This article was originally published by WKBW


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.

Baby Shows Sign Of Shaken Baby Syndrome, Father Arrested

Officials from Kentucky State Police Post 14 said they are investigating after a five month old baby had to be flown to Cabell Huntington hospital with a serious brain injury.

Officials said staff at the hospital noticed the baby had multiple symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome, and contacted law enforcement.

Kentucky State Police said their investigation revealed 24-year-old Jeffery Wellman of Grayson, Ky. intentionally harmed his son. Police said he became frustrated and shook him, causing abusive head trauma. The baby remains in critical condition.

The case was presented before the Carter County Grand Jury on Friday. The jury returned indictment on one count of Criminal Abuse 1st Degree. Wellman is being held at the Carter County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash bond.

The incident remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police.

This article was originally published by WYMT.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.

Charges Filed Against Father In Suspected Shaken Baby Syndrome Case

A 21-year-old father surrendered Thursday to face assault-related charges for allegedly shaking his infant son so hard that it has left the baby blind and brain damaged, according to state police.

Accompanied by his attorney, Tyler Vaughn, of 290 Nippenose Road, was arraigned before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley on charges aggravated and simple assault, endangering the welfare of child and recklessly endangering.

A medical scan of the infant’s head “showed a brain injury” and soft tissue damage to his cervical spine, Trooper James Nestico said in an affidavit.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, the baby “is believed to be primarily blind. He is severely neurologically devastated,” Nestico said.

No information was available on who is taking care of the infant.

Investigators allege the infant’s injuries were inflicted by Vaughn in late November and again on the morning of Dec. 4 when the baby, born in late October, suddenly went unresponsive after his mother, Alexa Dincher, 18, picked him up.

“Tyler got up about 7:30 a.m. to feed him and Alexa got up about 7:45 a.m. with the intentions of calling a doctor about the baby’s past vomiting. She took a look at the infant and he didn’t look normal,” Nestico said in the court document.

“She said to Tyler that something was wrong with him, but Tyler said ‘No, he’s fine. I just checked on him.’ Alexa picked up the baby and he just dangled in her arms. She reported that he was gasping for air,” the trooper said.

‘Tyler grabbed the baby from her as she was holding him in her hands. Tyler took him and spun him around to face him. Alexa said that he did so in a quick manner to try CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and that Tyler may have ‘shaken’ him while trying to get air into him. Alexa related that when Tyler took the baby, the infant’s head ‘bobbled forward’ once,” Nestico said.

Tiadaghton Valley Regional police and paramedics rushed to the couple’s Nippenose Township home just before 8 a.m. to investigate a report of someone in “respiratory distress.”

When Sgt. Brian Fioretti arrived on the scene, Vaughn, who was holding the infant, told the officer that the baby had thrown up, Nestico said.

Fioretti grabbed the child, checked for a pulse and began CPR. The baby then “gasped for air,” Nestico said. Fioretti carried the infant to an arriving medic unit.

The infant was rushed first to Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital and then flown to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where he was admitted in critical condition with severe brain injuries and fractured ribs, Nestico said.

Further examination by medical staff revealed that the infant was a victim of “shaken baby syndrome,” the trooper said. There also was evidence of a prior “brain bleed” and it was believed the injury was “a couple weeks old,” the trooper added.

Upon being questioned, Vaughn told investigators that during the early-morning hours of Nov. 25, when he got up to feed the baby, he picked him up as he was sleeping.

“He couldn’t get the infant to wake up to eat so he ‘shook him around to get him with the program,’” Vaughn told police.

“Tyler said he knew that if the baby didn’t eat now, he would sleep for another two hours and that Tyler just wanted him to wake up. Tyler stated that he ‘shook him hard in quick vibrations,’” Nestico said in the affidavit.

Vaughn said he never shared this incident with the baby’s mother or the baby’s physician or with the doctors treating his son at Geisinger “because he knew he had done something wrong” and that what he allegedly did supposedly led to the infant being hospitalized, Nestico said.

Vaughn made no statements during the arraignment and was released on $95,000 bail.

This article was originally published by Sungazette.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.

Authorities Claim Infant Suffers From Shaken Baby Syndrome Following Alleged Daycare Worker Abuse

A daycare worker in Brandon is accused of abusing an infant under six months old.

According to deputies, the parents of the child took the baby to the doctor on Dec. 18 after the infant turned pale in color and began throwing up after attending Shepherd Day Care located at 208 Terrace Drive in Brandon.

Deputies say the infant was in the sole custody of Sarah Loria, 20, at the time.

On Dec. 20, the infant became unresponsive in the care of Loria. The baby was taken to a local hospital where doctors confirmed the baby had been suffering from Shaken Baby Syndrome on both occasions.

To inflict pain on a defenseless baby is a despicable crime, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office does not take acts of child abuse lightly.

If you’re in the care of a child and unable to manage the pressure or responsibility that comes with that role, I’m begging you to reach out to someone for help. Taking your frustrations out on a child is never acceptable.


Loria was charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse and was transported to Orient Road Jail without incident.

This article was originally published by KLFY.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.

Death Of 8-Week-Old Queens Boy Linked To Shaken Baby Syndrome

The death of an 8-week-old Queens boy who cops say was violently shaken by his father four months ago has been declared a homicide, police said Saturday.

Little Mason Sanchez was found unconscious inside his parents’ apartment on 88th St. near Jamaica Ave. in Jamaica on Aug. 16.

Medics rushed the infant to Jamaica Hospital, then transported him to Cohen Children’s Medical Center for further care, but Mason could not be saved and died of his injuries three days later.

An autopsy later revealed that Mason died from shaken baby syndrome, sources with knowledge of the case said.

On Aug. 21, cops arrested the tot’s father, 28-year-old Luis Sanchez, and charged him with manslaughter and acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17 years old. Sanchez was caring for Mason when the child fell unconscious, police said.

Sanchez remains held on $150,000 cash bail and is due back in court on Jan. 24, public records show.

Queens prosecutors will determine if the charges against him will be upgraded now that the baby’s death has been declared a homicide, officials said.

This article was originally published by NYDailyNews.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.

Community Supports Victim Of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Melissa said it was her former boyfriend and father of her two children, Cristofer “Shane” Wethy, telling her there was something wrong with their then 2-month-old son. Melissa could hear Shane begging Sababstian to breathe on the other side of the line. 

An MRI at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus showed Sabastian had substantial brain damage. Doctors siadthey probably won’t know how bad it is until Sabastian misses standard developmental milestones, Melissa said, adding that Sabastian is still having seizures and is suffering from other ailments. 

Wethy was indicted by the recent edition of the Coshocton County Grand Jury with one count of endangering children, a second-degree felony. Melissa was present Monday in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court when Wethy was arraigned and entered a not guilty plea to the charge.

“I couldn’t even make eye contact with him. I literally couldn’t look at him,” Melissa said. “I don’t want any kind of connection with him whatsoever.”

The night in question

Melissa and Wethy met while both lived in Florida. They never married, but dated a long time and Wethy moved to Coshocton with Melissa when she wanted to be closer to family. Along with Sabastian, they have a daughter, 6-year-old Mari Jayn.

The couple broke up about a year ago, about the time Sabastian was conceived. Melissa tried to remain friendly with Wethy for the sake of the children, she said, and their relationship was fine. Wethy was not previously abusive with her or the children, according to Melissa, although he would raise his voice.

“I never quite felt comfortable once we split up. I still tried to have really good communication and contact with him because of our daughter,” McCloy said. “I played nice as much as I could and as long as I could so I could monitor things. There was something, but never a reason for me to feel that. I would say aggressive parenting, but not abusive.”

Wethy usually worked nights, but was off work and was going to keep both children for the first time overnight alone at his home, Melissa said. She helped put the kids to bed about 8:30 p.m. and then returned to her house, as she had to work early the next day.

However, that phone call from Wethy woke her up in the middle of the night. He begged her to come over right away because there was something wrong. 

“He said ‘Something’s wrong, I need you to get over here.’ He dropped the phone, I heard it hit,” she said. “I could hear him say ‘Breathe, just breathe.'”

Melissa rushed over, grabbed Sabastian and put him in the car. She drove to Coshocton Regional Medical Center.

“Sabastian was just limp. He was pale, he was limp, he wasn’t responding at all,” she said. “I looked down as I’m getting in the car. As I’m sitting down, he gasps for air.”

Sabastian was flown via medical helicopter to Nationwide. Wethy went in the helicopter, while Melissa drove so they would have a vehicle in Columbus.

“He’s the more emotional parent. I’m the more level headed person. I could drive there no problem. He was hysterical,” Melissa said.

Initially doctors weren’t sure what was going on and Wethy didn’t provide any insight. A CAT scan revealed brain trauma and an MRI confirmed the shaken baby diagnosis. Melissa said they were both interviewed twice by detectives investigating the case. A warrant was issued by the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office once the MRI was reviewed. Wethy remains in the Coshocton Justice Center on a $100,000 bond.

Sabastian’s condition

Sabastian initially had bleeding on his brain. On a followup visit, doctors thought he had more bleeding, but determined that scar tissue had made his brain shrink and it just looked as if the blood had increased, Melissa said. 

“The blood is still there and it can be there for months they said. It can cause more and more issues. One of the things we’re watching for is increased pressure in his brain. It can still be months after and he could have symptoms of that,” she added.

Doctors believe the seizures are under control. However, Sabastian recently contracted a virus which has put him back into having seizures. This past week he went back to Nationwide Children’s Hospital with a suspected respiratory tract infection. 

In the four months since Sabastian has been born, he’s been admitted to Nationwide four times. More trips are probably in the future.

Melissa said she’s spoken to several people with knowledge on shaken baby syndrome and said it’s a 50-50 shot on Sabastian developing normally as he ages. He might also need to take seizure medication for life, or could come out of the seizures fine. There’s a lot that needs to be seen yet.

Community support

Even with health insurance, medical bills are mounting. Melissa also had to drop down to part time at work in order to deal with Sabastian’s issues and medical appointments. 

A GoFundMe account has been established to raise funds to help with medical costs. Two fundraisers are also planned. She said a situation like this reinforces why she wanted to move back to Coshocton from Florida. 

“If something happens, this is the type of community where everybody gets behind you,” Melissa said. “There are issues, but there are also a lot of really good people here who try.”

Melissa regularly updates the Prayers for Sabastian Facebook page so the public can keep tabs on how he’s doing. She also wants a record for Sabasitan to see when he gets older so he knows just how his life started out and, hopefully, how far he’s come.

This article was originally written Coshoctontribune.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.

Horrifying Details Of Abused 3-Year-Old Bellingham Girl Emerge

A Bellingham woman accused of shaking a 3-year-old child to death is now charged with her murder.

Kamee Dixon, 27, made her first court appearance on Friday for the death of Hazel Homan. Hazel was the daughter of Dixon’s boyfriend.

Court documents claim the little girl suffered months of horrific abuse at the hands of Dixon leading up to her death.

Doctors say Hazel died of Shaken Baby Syndrome, according to the documents.  Doctors also reportedly found bruising on her neck, chin, chest and groin area.

According to documents, Hazel had been living with her dad since June, and Dixon would take care of her while he was at work. After Hazel’s death, the medical examiner found multiple broken bones that took place within the last six months.

Her finger, wrist, knee and hip bones all showed signs of breaks and healing.

Court documents also detail a lengthy record of abuse in the last several months, including an incident Aug. 3 when a family member who was babysitting Hazel noticed and photographed suspicious bruising on the toddler’s chest and shoulders. The family member also noticed scarring from an apparent cigarette burn,  according to the documents.

Later that month, a friend was at Dixon’s house when Hazel wet herself. Dixon reportedly got angry and placed her in a cold shower. Dixon’s friend told authorities Hazel was in the shower for a long period of time and “was in visible distress, shaking and clinched teeth,” until the friend stepped in to prevent further injury, according to the documents.

On Oct. 2, court documents detail that Hazel received a burn to her hand, but that she was not seen by doctors until about a week later. A Child Protective Services (CPS) referral was made due to mandatory reporting laws.

According to court documents, Hazel was again seen by medical professionals later that month for an alkaline chemical burn to her eye.

Based on medical records, CPS referrals and eyewitness accounts, police say there were obvious signs of physical abuse to Hazel, and Dixon was the primary caregiver to the toddler when her father was away.

However, Hazel’s father Brandon Homan said he does not believe his girlfriend did this. He showed up to court in her defense and spoke to Q13 News last week.

“This is a tragic situation,” he said. “I just, more than anyone, I am the father. It’s my baby girl, I want answers too. But don’t place blame.”

Dixon was charged Monday with second-degree murder and homicide by abuse. Her bail was set at $1 million.

This article was originally published by q13fox.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.