The Way Dad Stopped Her From Crying Ends in Tragedy
On August 17, 2012 Amy Owensby dropped off Cheyenne, her 8-month-old infant daughter at Cheyenne’s father’s residence in Spartanburg County, SC. James Davis Jr. had been Amy’s high school sweetheart, and he was allowed to see their daughter on weekends. Ms. Owensby later remarked that she would have never believed that James was capable of harming another person. James later told law enforcement that he “just snapped.” James was unable to stop her from crying, and he violently shook her. The force of his shaking fractured her skull and caused her brain to bleed and swell. She developed a blood clot in her leg, and her heart stopped.
Amy Owensby made it to the apartment just in time to see her daughter’s still body hooked up to various IVs and being put into medical transport. Cheyenne was airlifted to nearby Greenville Memorial, and Amy was told to be prepared that Cheyenne would most likely not live through the night. Cheyenne underwent several surgeries and had to have half of her brain removed to control the swelling. She did survive through the night, and she even went home from the hospital after about a month. Photos of Amy and Cheyenne at the hospital clearly show the curved scar on Cheyenne’s head from where she had her brain surgery. Davis pleaded guilty to the abuse, and is currently serving ten years in prison. Once he is released, he will have five years of parole.
Today, Cheyenne is a spunky four-year-old. Amy states that the little girl is a fighter who proves her doctors wrong every day. Because the left half of her brain was removed, Cheyenne cannot fully control the right side of her body. Amy notes that because of this, she can’t do simply things such as holding two things at once.
She also has trouble seeing because she suffered from optic nerve damage, and she must attend speech therapy sessions. Amy says that the therapy is working and that Cheyenne “talks great.” She warns parents to be cautious about whom they trust with their children, and she also says that it is important to monitor one’s emotions when caring for a child.
Cheyenne was a victim of what is known as shaken baby syndrome. This malady occurs when a child is shaken and the child’s head bobs up and down or back and forth too quickly or for an extended period of time. The child’s head may also come into contact with a wall or crib bars and cause yet more traumas to the brain.
The Mayo Clinic notes that shaken baby syndrome destroys brain cells and depletes the brain of oxygen. It is considered a form of child abuse, and it can result in death or permanent injury to the brain. The CDC reports that one in every four cases of shaking results in the death of a child. For 70% of the recorded cases of shaken baby syndrome, a male has inflicted the damage. This is usually the mother’s husband/boyfriend, and he may be the father of the child. Most men who abuse children by shaking them are in their early twenties.
Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include vomiting, seizure activity, an inability to wake up, and/or no pulse. Shaken babies who survive often experience blindness, severe mental retardation, difficulty in speaking, and problems with memory. Some babies who are shaken develop cerebral palsy.
Little Cheyenne was lucky that she survived the attack on her life. Many babies who are shaken are either killed or experience severe health problems as a result of the abuse.