The daycare worker shook the baby out of frustration because she wouldn’t stop crying. She also failed to notify emergency medical services.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of child abuse that some readers may find distressing
An in-home Illinois day-care worker has been arrested after a seven-week-old infant Maren Gallagher was fatally injured in her care. Twenty-four-year-old Taylor D. Burris was taking care of the child on May 17, 2022, when the baby was in a bouncy seat and she was hit in the head with a softball, Burris told authorities. The baby started crying. The caretaker saw a red mark on her temple and sent an image of the same to the baby's mother. After this injury at Forsyth, Illinois, Burris put the child to sleep and ninety minutes later fed the bottle of milk which the infant proceeded to vomit back up, reported PEOPLE. The baby passed away in the hospital the next day.
Daycare Worker Allegedly Killed Baby By Shaking Her, Googled 'Shaken Baby Syndrome' https://t.co/8d7iKUjJPP— People (@people) June 17, 2022
Emergency Medical Services were called in at 2.05 p.m. Sergeant Robert Pope said the caretaker could have called EMS earlier. “Taylor admitted the incident occurred around 10:40 a.m. but didn't call EMS until 2:05 p.m." The affidavit from Herald and Review states, "When on the phone with dispatch, Taylor said that the infant had been in an unresponsive and impeded or apneic breathing state for 20 minutes before she called EMS. This was clearly neglectful behavior.”
Police say woman gave conflicting stories about fatal injuries sustained by 7-week-old child. https://t.co/5noTeHUnXx— heraldandreview (@heraldandreview) June 15, 2022
The child would pass away at 3.11 a.m. on May 18, 2022, at the HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. Police would later find out that the accused had googled “Shaken Baby Syndrome” on her phone as the child lay dying in the hospital. She is now being held in the Macon County Jail on charges of causing the aggravated battery to a child resulting in death, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering the life and health of a child.
FORSYTH, Ill. (WAND) - A Forsyth woman is facing several charges in relation to the death of a child. https://t.co/e21kPQBeCZ— WAND TV News (@wandtvnews) June 15, 2022
Incidentally, Sergeant Pope noted that Taylor’s story about the child falling progressively sick after the injury didn’t add up with the medical examinations showing bleeding and injuries inside the baby’s head. They decided to send the autopsy photos and reports to Dr. Jill. C. Glick, a professor of pediatrics and a child abuse expert based at the University of Chicago School of Medicine while working together with the Department of Children and Family Services.
Dr. Glick’s report showed that the cause of the injuries was either a violent car crash or shaken baby syndrome. Since the doctor concluded that there were no known violent car crashes, it is highly probable to be shaken baby syndrome. On questioning the perpetrator a second time on June 14, 2022, she admitted to lying about how the child sustained injuries the first time. Burris explained that the injury was not due to a softball but a dog’s tennis ball caused the bruising on the head.
Doctors and defense lawyers are debating the scientific validity of “shaken baby syndrome,” a diagnosis used for decades to support prosecutions for child abuse https://t.co/AzI4d6X9YX— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 17, 2022
She continued by saying that Maren started crying after being hit with the ball, so she took her to a room away from the other children. It is then that she shook the baby out of frustration because she wouldn’t stop crying. She said she had told the mother about the softball hitting Maren’s head, “because after she observed Maren's health declining, she needed a more probable means to account for the significant injuries Maren had sustained,” explained Sergeant Pope. The police procured a search warrant for her phone where they found her incriminating ‘Google’ search results.
There were also inconsistencies in the story when Taylor said that the five-year-old had hit Maren in the head but the police said that the child had gone to school, WAND-TV reports. So she then changed it to a three-year-old hitting her in the head. The accused also lied about how many children were in the room, initially saying there were three. Officers noted that there were six children in the home.
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT), which includes shaken baby syndrome, is a preventable and severe form of physical child abuse that results in an injury to the brain of a child. 1/ pic.twitter.com/USVJMfk7Ev— mnhealth (@mnhealth) June 16, 2022
Jim Allmon at the Sangamon County Coroner's Office which is one of the investigating agencies said the preliminary autopsy findings, "suggested the infant sustained an injury to her head. These findings are highly suspicious." According to the Macon County Jail Records, the bail set for Taylor Burris is at $250,000. She is set to return to court on July 15, 2022. It is unclear whether she retained an attorney or entered a plea.
If you know of any children who are being subjected to abuse, please contact The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 422-4453