In Kalamazoo County, the death of a two-month-old infant from blunt force trauma has been ruled a homicide. The infant died on Thursday, October 16, 2008. This tragic event began to unfold when police were called to a home on the 300 block of Drake Road for complaints of domestic violence on Wednesday, October 15, 2008. Angela Cook’s boyfriend was arrested for alleged domestic assault and the charges were dropped afterwards. The infant appeared to be unharmed during the domestic issue according to police reports. However, police did report the incident to Child Protective Services before they left the scene. Unfortunately the next day police were called again to the same home for complaints of the infant in an unresponsive state. The baby was taken emergently to a local hospital and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. News stories report that the boyfriend was not around at the time the baby was mortally injured. Ms. Cooks was caring for the infant at the time the blunt force trauma was sustained. She currently is in the Kalamazoo County Jail for murder charges.
Feelings of stress and frustration are normal while caring for infants and children, however acting out in a harmful way towards the infant or child is not acceptable. The caregiver should focus on developing an abuse-prevention plan for dealing with feelings of stress and frustration that may emerge in the presence of the infant or the child. The abuse-prevention plan should include a cooling off period and developing an effective coping behavior that prevents physical abuse from occurring. It is best for families to be proactive and make an effort to provide a supportive environment for caregivers with children by assisting with childcare and allowing the caregiver respite. And the caregiver should not hesitate to ask family members and friends to assist with childrearing. It takes more than one person to care for an infant or raise a child. If you or someone you know has difficulty managing anger than utilizing community programs may be necessary if the family is not supportive. Encourage parents not to hesitate to contact an organization in their community to assist them with childcare and respite issues. Encourage parents and caregivers to seek assistance if they feel overwhelmed by stress. If you know someone that has expressed frustration and is feeling overwhelmed, reach out and assist in any way that you can. Communication is essential to preventing child abuse. Seeking assistance before an injury occurs is not a crime.