An Illinois in-home daycare worker is behind bars after she allegedly caused fatal injuries to an infant by shaking her and then Googled “shaken baby syndrome.”
According to WAND-TV, citing police, 24-year-old Taylor Burris told authorities she was caring for 7-week-old Maren Gallagher on May 17, when she was hit in the head with a ball thrown by another child.
Following the alleged injury at her Forsyth, Ill., home, Burris then reportedly put Maren down for a nap. Ninety minutes later, she proceeded to feed her a bottle, which Maren vomited back up, police said. The infant was then reportedly taken to the hospital, where she died the next day.
Citing an affidavit written by Sgt. Robert Pope with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the Herald & Review reports investigators questioned the circumstances surrounding the baby’s death, and autopsy reports were sent to Dr. Jill Glick, a professor of pediatrics and child abuse expert at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, for review.
“Dr. Glick would conclude in her preliminary findings that these injuries were caused by a violent car crash or shaken baby syndrome,” said Pope, per the outlet. “Dr. Glick would then indicate that since there was no known car crash, she strongly suspected shaken baby syndrome.”
After questioning Burris a second time, she allegedly confessed to shaking Maren, according to the affidavit. She told investigators the infant was in fact hit in the head with a ball, but following the alleged injury, she wouldn’t stop crying. Burris then allegedly proceeded to shake the baby, the affidavit states, per the outlets.
“Taylor admitted she had to tell (the baby’s mother) and police that a softball hit Maren because after she observed Maren’s health declining, she needed a more probable means to account for the significant injuries Maren had sustained,” the affidavit states, the Herald & Review reports.
Investigators allege Burris also didn’t act fast enough when she realized Maren’s health was declining.
“Taylor admitted the incident occurred around 10:40 a.m. but didn’t call EMS until 2:05 p.m.,” the affidavit states, per the outlet. “When on the phone with dispatch, Taylor said that the infant had been in an unresponsive and impeded or apneic breathing state for 20 minutes before she called EMS. This was clearly neglectful behavior.”
During a search of Burris’s phone, police reportedly discovered she had Googled “shaken baby syndrome,” following the infant’s injury, according to Pope.
A press release issued by the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office, one of the investigating agencies, said the preliminary autopsy findings “suggested the infant sustained injury to her head. These findings are highly suspicious.”
According to Macon County Jail records, a judge ordered Burris’ bail set at $250,000. She faces charges of involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide, aggravated battery and endangering the life of a child.
It wasn’t immediately clear if she retained an attorney or entered a plea.
Burris is due to return to court July 15.