The second trial for this case brought closing arguments on Thursday, June 19th , as Placer County prosecutors seek to discredit the testimony of the defense counsel’s medical expert witnesses in this case. The first trial ended in a deadlocked jury. This is the case where the nanny, defendant Veronica Martinez Saledo, is accused of shaking 16 month-old Hannah Rose Juceam. Baby Hannah died from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).
On May 11, 2006, Hannah became unresponsive while the defendant was babysitting her. Hannah was taken emergently to the hospital. During the course of investigation the defendant offered four different versions of events that occurred just prior to Hannah losing consciousness.
Prosecutors contend that the defense medical experts’ theories were used to confuse the jury in the first trial. The defense medical experts postulate the possibility that Hannah’s injuries were sustained one to two days prior to her losing consciousness; casting doubt that the defendant was the actual perpetrator. The medical experts also stated that other causes may be responsible for Hannah’s death, as some illnesses simulate SBS.
The prosecution states that the healthcare provider’s involved in Hannah’s care were unanimous in their diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome and the cause of her death.
Monitor strangers around your child. Look for signs that the caregiver or parent delayed in seeking help for an injury or potential injury. Have a high-index of suspicion for an individual providing an inconsistent history about the mechanism of injury. Suspect intentional injury when the injury is inconsistent with the child’s developmental capabilities. Suspect abuse when fractures are present at varying degrees of healing stages. Look for bruises to the back of the body. Be suspicious if there are bald spots or broken hair on the scalp. Caregivers with unrealistic expectations and poor coping skills are most at risk for engaging in abusive behavior.
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.