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Woman accused of shaking, injuring her baby

By Staff | Aug 30, 2011

A Cape Coral woman is accused of causing serious injury to her 5-month-old son by allegedly shaking him when he would not stop crying.

Jasmin Aviles, 27, was arrested and charged Friday with one felony count of cruelty toward a child, abuse causes great bodily harm disability. As of Tuesday, she had been released from the Lee County Jail on $75,000 bond.

“There’s always three sides to every story,” Aviles’ sister, Natasha Aviles, said during a phone interview Tuesday. “Our side, their side and the truth.”

“They’re trying to say she’s a child abuser, but that’s not what she is,” Natasha Aviles said. “She’s never been through anything like this.”

On Aug. 19, she contacted 911 and said her sister’s baby, Andrew, was “having problems breathing,” was pale, was not eating and was “not alert.” Emergency services transported the child to HealthPark Medical Center.

According to a police report, hospital staff determined that the boy’s condition was critical and the child was flown via helicopter to the Miami Children’s Hospital. Miami staffers also found that the boy was critical.

Dr. Jefrey Biehler noted that the 5-month-old had “sustained serious, life-threatening injuries” as a result of inflicted trauma.

“This case represents severe child physical abuse,” Biehler wrote. “The neurologic outcome of the child remains very guarded and uncertain.”

On Tuesday, hospital officials in Miami reported that they could not provide an update on Andrew’s condition because of the police investigation.

Natasha Aviles reported that hospital staff have told the family that the trauma to Andrew’s head is the result of a lack of oxygen that caused the brain to swell up and bleed.

“He’s still in the same situation,” she said of the boy’s condition.

Hospital staff are keeping the child sedated due to seizures.

“It’s a real serious and touchy situation,” Natasha Aviles said.

During an interview with Cape police, Aviles said she arrived in the city on Aug. 16 from Georgia with two of her children – Andrew, and a 1-year-old son – because of an abusive relationship with the father of her children.

She told detectives the night of Aug. 18, she did not sleep well, and that she was “very tired” the next day, the police report states. The children cried all day, and her 1-year-old son was “out of control, running around going crazy.”

Aviles began to cry and told police that she was under a lot of stress.

Detectives then gave her a doll to show them how she was holding the 5-month-old and how she was trying to get the boy to stop crying. According to the report, Aviles “vigorously shook the doll” and described the shaking.

During this time, she reportedly said she did not mean to do it, that it was “just spur of the moment” and that she maybe did get frustrated and shake the child. After Aviles shook the baby, the child reportedly stopped crying.

She told detectives that she felt “really bad that she just shook her” baby, that she got scared and held the child for a couple of hours, according to the report. Aviles noted changes in the child and told her sister, who called 911.

“They took her words and misconstrued it,” Natasha Aviles said Tuesday.

She explained that her sister, a mother of six, told police that she was patting and rocking Andrew as one would when trying to burp an infant.

“She has too much support and too many around her to shake her baby,” Natasha Aviles said. “She’s distraught over this. She’s not doing very well.”

Erin Gillespie, spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, reported Tuesday that the agency has initiated an investigation.

“We do have an open investigation currently,” she said.

Gillespie confirmed that the 1-year-old has been removed from the home.

“We did remove the sibling,” she said.

Natasha Aviles reported that DCF has ordered that the family, including Aviles, have no contact with Andrew at the hospital. The 1-year-old son was staying with a relative, but he is currently in the care of a foster parent.

“We don’t know where to go, how to get any help,” she said.

According to Gillespie, cases involving shaken babies are not uncommon.

“We see this very often in very young infants and very young parents,” she said. “In most cases, you’re dealing with a parent who gets frustrated.”

DCF wants parents to understand that it is OK for a child to cry.

“It’s not going to hurt the child to cry,” she said.

If parents are becoming frustrated because they cannot quiet a baby, DCF recommends that they put the child down in a safe place like a crib and walk away for a few minutes, or have another person watch the child for awhile.

“Usually, it’s just needing some time apart,” Gillespie said.

Aviles has a court appearance scheduled for Sept. 26.