Murder charges were dropped recently against a father in Randolph County charged with the death of his 11-week-old daughter. The baby’s treating physician indicated the death was caused by shaking or blunt force trauma. The defendant spent 158 days in jail prior to the charges being dismissed. The charges were dismissed when the forensic pathologist, Dr. Anna McDonald, reported to the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case that the child suffered from a rare medical condition causing blood clots to travel to her brain and heart. Diagnosing the rare condition that has symptoms similar to Shaken Baby Syndrome required extensive study of the child’s tissues. More information about the case is available here.
The defendant was represented by attorney Taylor Browne of Asheboro. Mr. Browne recognized the need for extensive investigation and expert assistance and consulted with medical and biomechanical experts. Attorneys representing clients in cases with shaken baby or abusive head trauma allegations should be aware that the triad of symptoms associated with these diagnoses (cerebral edema, retinal hemorrhaging, and subdural hematoma) may have other explanations. Some information about these cases and links to additional resources can be found here. Attorneys in appointed cases should contact IDS Forensic Resource Counsel Sarah Olson for assistance in locating experts and other resources.