Child dies after being shaken, mother's boyfriend charged with m - News, Weather & Sports

Child dies after being shaken, mother's boyfriend charged with murder

Ryan James Shelley (Source: Jennings County Sheriff's Office) 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 the floor.

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 like this.

"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 annual basis.

"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 (422-4453).

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