Ryan James Shelley (Source: Jennings County Sheriff's Office)
JENNINGS COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - A man faces murder charges after the death of
his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter.
According to the Jennings County Sheriff's Office, on Thursday at 1:10 p.m., a
911 caller reported a baby had fallen off a kitchen counter and was
unconscious. When officers arrived at the home, they began CPR on the toddler
and then airlifted her to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville.
The mother's boyfriend, Ryan James Shelley, 27, told police he was home alone with
the child and her older brother when the girl fell off the countertop and hit
Doctors at Kosair Children's Hospital told police the child's injuries were not
consistent with a fall, but were consistent with being shaken forcefully.
According to police, Shelley later admitted grabbing the child and shaking her
because she would not stop crying. Shelley was arrested Thursday on preliminary
charges of felony aggravated battery with serious injury and felony neglect.
The child was in critical condition on life support and died Monday morning. The
charges against Shelley were upgraded to murder.
Doctor's at Kosair Children's Hospital offered advice to prevent situations
"If the child is crying, if you feel yourself losing control, the most
important thing to know it's okay to walk away," said Dr. Sandra Herr.
"Put the child in a safe place and take a break."
Herr said there are more than one-million cases of child abuse each year and 2,000
deaths. In Kentucky, there are at least 30 child abuse-related deaths on an
"Especially with the boyfriend or girlfriend, this child is a product of a
prior relationship so there is some jealousy issues with that," said Dr.
Herr. "When a child is violently shaken or thrown, the brain moves inside
the skull, the blood vessels around the brain tear and bleeding into and around
the brain, it leads to swelling that causes the baby to stop breathing, have
seizures, which causes further injury to the brain. They will stop breathing,
and their heart may stop as well."
Experts say it is a parent's responsibility to know who they are leaving their
child with. Parents feeling overwhelmed or frustrated should reach out to
family, friends or a neighbor for help. Another option is to contact Prevent
Child Abuse Kentucky at (859) 225-8879 or toll free at (800) CHILDREN (244-5373).
In Indiana, contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 4-A-CHILD
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