In Anderson, detectives re-opened a cold case involving the death of an infant in 1993. As a result, James Lee Copeland is facing murder charges and remains in Shasta County jail. Copeland told investigators he dropped the baby out of frustration over the baby’s crying. News stories report that the baby died at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. The baby’s autopsy showed head and bodily injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. If convicted, Mr. Copeland faces up to life in prison.
It is important to remember that there may be no bruising, scrapes or outward signs of physical trauma in victims with Shaken Baby Syndrome. The infant or child may only have a change in behavior, poor appetite or vomiting at any given time. An infant’s symptoms may be so subtle or of short duration in mild cases of SBS. Parents may not seek medical attention. And abusers rarely provide a history that the baby was shaken or abused. So symptoms go unrecognized or misdiagnosed until a more severe episode of abuse occurs.