Massachusetts Shaken Babies
Rememberance Quilt - Their Stories
Aaron Kenrick Brown ~ Brockton
Aaron was born on July 28, 1995 and was shaken at the age of 12 months by his father who was caring for his son while his wife went back to work. As a result of the injuries inflicted upon him, Aaron is legally blind, has a seizure disorder, is unable to walk and talk, and must rely of a feeding tube to get nourishment. While he will be dependent on others for care for the rest of his life, Aaron, who recently turned 16, is described as "a very good, happy and well adjusted teenager." He attends middle school where he has lots of friends that adore him. He is loved by his mom, stepdad Phillip and little sister Elyssa.
Aaron’s father was convicted in 1996 and spent 3 years in a maximum prison. The family has never heard about him or from him since then.
Caroline Marie Franceschi ~ Spencer
Caroline was born on February 12, 2001. She was shaken at 3 months of age by her 21-year-old mother who was unable to cope with a colicky newborn. Today Caroline suffers from left side paralysis, cognitive impairment, speech delays, and visual problems. Caroline’s mom was sentenced to 3 months in Framingham State Prison. She served 45 days and was placed on probation for 5 years. Yvonne and George Poske, Caroline's mother's aunt and uncle, supported her emotionally and financially through the proceedings. They are now Caroline's permanent legal guardians.
Chelsea Elizabeth Rose Forant ~ Beverly
Chelsea was born on October 18, 2000. She was shaken at 3 months of age by her unemployed, young father Shon, while her mother was at work. He had been caring for Chelsea and her 3-year-old sister, Kathleen. Shon revealed that he felt frustrated by Chelsea’s crying. An unemployed worker, he was down on himself and was feeling aggravated and angry. He later admitted that felt unable to care for the children but could not ask for help. Today, Chelsea is legally blind, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and stomach reflux. Now almost 11, she is still in diapers, cannot walk, and has had three surgeries.
Shannon personally fought to keep Shon out of jail and he was sentenced to 7 years probation. She believed that it would be better for Chelsea if he could work to help support her. She also felt it was important for Shon to see the consequences of his actions and for him to help make the quality of Chelsea's life the best it could be. Though now divorced, Shannon and Shon work together to educate parents and thee public about the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Dean Zachary McCullough andThomas James McCullough III ~ Lowell
Dean was born on August 22, 2008 and his brother Thomas was born the previous year on November 27, 2007. Both boys were shaken on September 1, 2010. According to their 17-year-old mother, her boyfriend, 28-year-old Brian Nutter who is not the father of the children, said he heard Dean crying and when he went to see what was wrong, he found the child convulsing. The mother says she found her child in his arms dead. Both children were taken to the hospital where Dean was found to have extensive brain injuries from shaking. Both boys had strangulation marks on their necks.
Police have declared Dean's death to be a homicide and Thomas's injuries to have been caused by abuse. The investigation is ongoing with the Lowell Police Department and the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.
Devin Matthew Logan ~ Tyngsborough
Devin was born on Christmas Day, 2004 and died from shaking injuries on June 21, 2005 when he was 6 months old. He was shaken in the early morning hours of Father's Day when his 18-year-old father awoke to his son crying, picked him up by the armpits, and violently shook him. Though there were other relatives sleeping in the home at the time, he did not call for help to cope with his son's crying.
Devin was transported to Children's Hospital in Boston where he was diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome. He suffered from severe brain and spinal cord injuries that led to his death. His father Andrew Roberts initially denied any involvement in the death and accused his mother of having injured the baby. Roberts finally admitted to the act and received a sentence of 13 to 26 years for manslaughter, 2 to 4 years for perjury, and 1 year for filing a false police report. He must serve a minimum of 15 years before being eligible for parole.
Dylan Scott Salmon ~ Abington
Dylan was born on November 6, 2000 and was shaken at 5 months of age by a 36-year old day care provider who admitted that she shook him three times. She had provided day care for Dylan's older sister for two years without incident and was a licensed provider for 9 years.
Dylan's injuries resulted in severe brain damage which has left him unable to walk. His motor skills are that of a 3-month old baby. Dylan is also legally blind. Despite his serious disabilities, Dylan is described as "a very happy little boy" and his sister Rachael and mother Kelly love him very much.
Though the day care provider admitted she shook Dylan three times, she was found not guilty.
Hannah Guimont ~ New Bedford
Hannah was born on November 10, 2004 and was shaken at 4 months of age by her 27-year-old father. A full body X-Ray documented that she suffered 24 bone fractures from having been violently shaken back and forth. State protective service workers called her "the broken baby" because of her extensive injuries. Hannah's mother took her to the doctor's office when she noticed her daughter's swollen leg. She and other relatives said they had not seen any prior signs that Hannah's father had been abusive.
Hannah eventually recovered from her injuries and today is a happy first grader with no visible mental or physical ailments. She now lives with her mom, her stepfather who has adopted her and her two brothers.
Hannah's father pleaded guilty in 2005 to having caused her injuries and served a four year sentence in state prison. He was released but sent back to prison in 2010 for violating his probation.
Jordan Alexander Nicot ~ Springfield
Jordan was born on August 17, 2010 and was shaken at 7 months of age at a day care facility where he had been attending for only two months. It is alleged by another day care worker that a 23-year old co-worker was rough with Jordan and forcefully pushed his head down on the crib mat. He suffered bleeding around the brain and developed seizures. He was unresponsive and hospitalized for 10 days. Jordan lost his vision after the incident, but it returned 2 months later. His doctors have labeled him developmentally challenged but his parents report he is making good progress and is learning to walk.
Charges have been filed against the day care teacher and the legal process in now in motion.
Kyran Joseph Connors ~ Eastham
Kyran was born on April 14, 2010. He was shaken at 5 weeks of age, it is alleged, by his very young, inexperienced and uninformed parents. Kyran suffered extensive brain injury and spend 12 weeks at Children's Hospital, ten of which were in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. He was not expected to survive past the first night, however, Kyran was quite the fighter and pulled through.
Today Kyran lives with cerebral palsy, seizures and swallowing problems. The shaking has left him legally blind. He works every day with a devoted team of therapists and is making great progress. His extended family says he is "an amazing little man with an amazing smile" who is loved very much. No charges were filed in Kyran's case.
Laura Cashin ~ Dracut
Laura was born on February 1, 1990 and died at the age of 7 months on September 3, 1990. In the month prior to her death, Laura had been placed in the care of Danielle Caron, a 26-year-old day care provider from Lowell. During that month, she exhibited a variety of unusual symptoms that caused her mother Paula to bring her to the pediatrician on several occasions. The pediatrician misdiagnosed Laura and never considered the possibility of shaking or abuse as a cause of her symptoms. On August 30, 1990, Caron called Paula to say that Laura was turning blue and was having difficulty breathing. When Paula arrived, Laura was having seizures and was immediately taken for medical care.
Laura died 4 days later at Massachusetts GeneralHospital from massive head injuries that doctors confirmed were caused by shaking. Caron was charged with manslaughter in Laura's death; however, she did not undergo a trial by jury. On March 12, 1992 Judge Robert Barton found her not guilty and she was released. The child care provider has never expressed to the family any apology or sorrow regarding Laura's death.
Matthew Spellman Eappen ~ Newton
Matty was born on May 24, 1996 to a loving and devoted family. On February 9, 1997, five days after being admitted to Children's Hospital in Boston with a fractured skull, subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhages, Matty fell into a coma and died from injuries judged by doctors to be characteristic of violent shaking and blunt trauma to the head – also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome. While she never admitted shaking Matty, Louise Woodward, his 19-year-old English au pair, told police that she had dropped him on the floor at one point, and had been "a little rough" with him.
On 30 October 1997, after 26 hours of deliberations, the jury found her guilty of second-degree murder. She faced a sentence of a minimum of 15 years to life in prison under Massachusetts' law. However, Judge Hiller Zobel reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter and determined she should be released for time served after only 279 days. This decision was widely criticized in the United States. Despite this controversial outcome, the case did serve to heighten national and international public awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome, the need to educate parents and caregivers everywhere about the dangers of shaking, and to better understand how to cope effectively with infant crying – a frequent trigger for shaking.
Shania Marie Donoghue ~ Mashpee
Shania was born on January 28, 2004. She was shaken at 7 ½ months old by her father. While he had never shown any signs of hatred toward the baby, he later stated that all Erin, Shania’s mother, ever cared about was "that kid". Shania suffered injuries to her brain, eyes and had fractured bones. She was in a coma and was given a less than 30% chance of survival. Shania did survive; however, she struggles with learning difficulties and receives counseling to help her try to understand why her father hurt her. She is adored by her family who thank God every day for their "angel."
After a 10-months legal proceeding, Shania's father was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail. In the course of the trial, it was disclosed that he was a Level 2 sex offender who had never registered. As a result his prison term was extended to 5 years. He was sent to jail on Sept 19, 2004 and was released from jail on April 1, 2008.
Tyler Ryan Saucier ~ Waltham
Tyler was born on August 2, 2002 and was shaken at 6 weeks of age. He died on May 1, 2011 at the age of 8. On September 19, 2002, police responded to reports of a baby who was not breathing. Upon arrival at the apartment, police found Tyler’s father holding Tyler who was limp and unresponsive. The baby was transported to Melrose-WakefieldHospital and later to New EnglandMedicalCenter where he was diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome. The critical and ultimately fatal brain injuries that Tyler sustained left him in a vegetative state, unable to sit, stand, walk, hold his head up, move his extremities, swallow or talk. Tyler required constant monitoring and received assistance from home duty nurses until his death.
Saucier is serving a 9 to 10 year prison sentence for assaulting the child. On August 5, 2011, 3 months after Tyler's death, he was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on one count of murder. On August 10, 2012 Saucier was sentanced to 15 years in state prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Wayne Scott Elliott ~ Haverhill
Wayne was born on July 20, 1996. He was shaken at the age of 5 months by his biological father while his mother was at work. He indicated that the baby's crying just became too much for him.
Now 15, Wayne is totally dependent on others for his care. He is wheel chair bound, receives nourishment through a feeding tube and is legally blind. Wayne’s father received a sentence of seven years in prison but as his family states: "Wayne received a life sentence."
Zoie Amber-Lea Armstrong ~ Leominster
Zoie was born on October 27, 2005 and was shaken at 10 months of age. Zoie's injuries were caused by her mother's boyfriend who was caring for her while her mother went out for a short time. Zoie has brain damage on one side of her brain so that only the other side functions. She cannot use her left arm or hand. Zoie is also blind in one eye and can see very little out of her other eye. While her doctors predicted that Zoie would never be able to walk or talk, she did begin walking at age 5. Zoie, however, will never live a normal life.
In 2008, the offender received a 10 year sentence but in 2009, a three-judge panel heard his appeal and determined the original sentence was too harsh. They reduced his time from 10 years to 7 to 8 years.