The parents of little Joslin dropped the 10-month-old baby off at a home day-care run by a woman they called a close family friend on Tuesday of last week, never expecting that the next time they saw the spirited little girl they called “Jozzy,” she would be lying on hospital bed, hooked up to life support equipment and fighting with everything she had to stay alive.
One week later, police in Oro Valley, Arizona — a town of about 41,000 just six miles north of Tucson — have now arrested the babysitter who was in charge of caring for Baby Jozzy that day, 34-year-old Jennifer Taylor, on a single count of child abuse, according to a report on KNXV-TV in Phoenix.
— Sonu Wasu (@SonuWasu) November 25, 2015
Taylor is now in custody at Pima County Adult Detention Center, held on $10,000 bond.
According to a report by Tucson News Now, Taylor — who had been Jozzy’s regular babysitter since the infant was three months old — confessed to investigators that she became “frustrated” with Jozzy’s crying and the shook the baby violently.
In fact, Taylor reportedly admitted, she shook the baby so badly that Jozzy hit her head on a chair, suffering a life-threatening head trauma.
Then, to make matters worse, Taylor failed to call for emergency help immediately — in fact, waiting 30 full minutes to dial 911, according to what she reportedly admitted to the Oro Valley police.
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When cops and paramedics showed up at the home on Mesquite Crest Way on November 17, they found the little girl unresponsive and rushed the infant to Banner University Medical Center, where Baby Jozzy was taken quickly to emergency surgery.
Her family didn’t get to see her until the surgery was complete.
“She was hooked up to a ventilator hooked up to feeding lines,” said her dad, Steve Cota in a Tucson News Now interview. “It didn’t even look like her. It looked unbelievable, unreal.”
Cota said that when he saw the little girl, his heart sank because she didn’t look like she would survive. But the miracle baby did survive.
“I did not think she was going to make it. I honestly believed I was going to lose my daughter. This has to be a parents worst nightmare… And today, with just a little bit of swelling on her head and she’s back to normal, if you ask me.”
Sadly, the Baby Jozzy incident is part of a frightening, but growing, phenomenon, as medical professionals say that in recent years, they have seen a sharp increase in babies displaying symptoms of what is now so common that it actually has a name — shaken baby syndrome, which coupled with the related condition known as abusive head trauma has become a significant cause of infant fatalities and crippling injuries.
According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, about 1,300 United States infants suffer severe head injuries resulting from abuse every year. About on of every five of those babies dies, and most of those who survive are left with developmental disorders and physical disabilities, ranging from mild learning disorders to severe mental retardation, or even paralysis, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other serious, lifelong conditions.
Every year, the American health care system spends up to $1.6 billion to treat babies with symptoms of shaken baby syndrome.
Frustration with a baby’s crying is generally believed to be the most frequent inciting factor in shaking of babies by parents or caregivers, though unlike in the Baby Jozzy case, parents are the most frequent perpetrators in baby-shaking incidents.
In the case of the “miracle” Baby Jozzy, police in Oro Valley say they they are continuing to investigate what actually happened to cause the little girl’s injuries.
[Photos via Facebook, Oro Valley Police Department]