In Michigan, the Romulus Police Department investigation reveals that on August 13, 2008, LaTonya Goodlow, 27 years-old, allegedly brutally beat 11 month-old Kalijah Arlboro while she was visiting with her biological father. Ms. Goodlow is the live-in girlfriend of Kalijah’s biological father, William Melchor, 39, of Romulus. Ms. Goodlow is facing charges of first-degree murder, negligent homicide and first-degree child abuse. She faces life in prison if convicted. The police investigation reveals that Ms. Goodlow admits to shaking Kalijah. Kalijah’s forehead hit the love seat with enough force to leave an imprint of the fabric pattern in her forehead. News stories report that the imprint on Kalijah’s forehead was present during the autopsy according to the pathologist’s report. The police did not believe the initial version of events provided by Ms. Goodlow. Kalijah’s injuries were too severe to be a result of the first explanation provided by Ms. Goodlow.
This tragic experience unfolded when Ms. Lewis made child visitation arrangements with William Melchor, so Kalijah to spend a couple days with her father on August 11, 2008. On August 13, 2008, Melchor’s sister called Ms. Lewis to inform her that Kalijah had been taken to Oakwood Hospital in Wayne, MI. After evaluation by the Oakwood Hospital emergency medical staff, Kalijah was transferred to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. Kalijah required advanced life support due to the severity of her injuries. She was pronounced dead on August 14th and removed from life support on August 16, 2008. The autopsy revealed that she died from non-accidental blunt force trauma to the head. Kalijah had sustained hemorrhaging in her armpits, her eyes and on her back.
The staff of the Keane Law Firm joins the family and friends of Kalijah Arlboro, Toy and Greg Lewis in their grieving and journey for peace from the passing of Kalijah from such tragic circumstances.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is an injurious condition caused by the shaking of an infant or child. The action of rapidly shaking an infant or child causes the sudden forward, backward and sideway motion of the head. During the shaking action the brain is injured from hitting against the inside of the bony skull, causing inflammation, bleeding, separation of vessels and nerve fibers in the soft brain tissue on all sides of the brain. The brain of an infant or child is very soft because it has more water content and it is easier to injure than an adult brain. Therefore, less energy is required to cause lethal injury to an infant or child’s brain. In SBS, the eyes may get injured by the sudden increase in pressure and motion around the soft tissues that make up the delicate structure of the eyes. After the shaking, the brain and the eyes bleed inside the confined spaces they are contained in. This bleeding causes high pressure to build within the head and eyes. The damage caused by shaking the head, brain and eye structures and the increasing high pressure that follows causes permanent injury or death for the infant or child. If death does not occur the infant or child may be left with permanent brain damage, blindness, neuromuscular disability, paralysis, deafness, learning disabilities and/or a seizure disorder.
Adults at risk for committing abusive acts include adults with poor coping skills, unrealistic expectations, substance abuse, former victims of abuse and adults with mental health problems. Environmental factors that usually culminate in abusive events include social isolation, dysfunctional family characteristics and socio-economic burdens. However, SBS may occur in any setting and it is important to know the signs and symptoms that may be present in an infant or child that may be a victim of SBS.
The common signs and symptoms of SBS include poor feeding, failure to thrive, vomiting, weakness, irritability, a change in overall muscle tone, decreased alertness, seizures, pale skin color, cool skin temperature, difficulty breathing and sudden respiratory or cardiac arrest. The fontanelles may be swollen depending on the age of the infant. It is important to remember that there may be no bruising, scrapes or outward physical signs of trauma. There may be only a change in behavior as described in the first sentence. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Researchers have identified abusive caregivers as having risk factors such as substance abuse, low self-esteem, mental or physical disability, depression, history of abuse as a child, poor coping skills, poor impulse control, history of violent behavior or history of being raised in a group setting with no positive parental role.
All children are potential victims of child abuse, but some factors increase the risk for a child to be abused.