Baylee Duggins was 15-years-old when she died last Sunday in Tacoma from respiratory failure due to pneumonia. However, her mother and the medical examiner in Pike County, WA believe that complications from the illness were caused because she had been violently shaken as a baby by her biological father.
The medical examiner ruled Baylee’s death a homicide as a result of being “shaken as an infant.” As Yahoo! News reported, on Wednesday, a prosecutor in the Seattle area said that he would likely charge her biological father with her death.
Pierce County court records show that Christopher Schwanz, the teen’s father, was convicted in 2000 with second-degree child abuse for shaking Baylee as an infant. His actions left the girl severely mentally and physically impaired. Baylee’s mother, Shannon Stiles, said her daughter was a normal, healthy baby before she was shaken. Afterwards, the young girl was confined to a wheelchair, was legally blind and she could never walk.
“She was totally dependent. And when she got sick, it was harder for her to heal.”
As reported by the Huffington Post, Stiles says she wants prosecutors to charge Schwanz with murder.
“I want justice for Baylee. That’s what it needs to be. She could never fight for herself, so we have to fight for her.”
That may be exactly what happens as Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist said a second-degree murder charge against Schwanz is pending upon review of the medical examiner’s report.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four babies who are violently shaken like Baylee was ends up dying. Shaken baby syndrome, which is also called abusive head trauma, is the leading cause of death among children who were abused. Children who do survive the abuse are at risk for lifelong brain damage, as well as other physical and mental complications.
Unfortunately, this crime is committed all too often by parents or people watching over a baby after they have become frustrated with the baby’s behavior, such as crying. As the Inquisitr reported in November 2014, a young father was sentenced to seven years in prison for shaking his daughter so violently that she become a quadriplegic.
Do you think murder charges should be brought against Schwanz or has he already served his time after his 2000 conviction for the crime? Tell us your opinion in the comment section below.