Jessup father charged in shaking death of son

May 14, 2004|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

A Jessup man was charged with second-degree murder and child abuse Wednesday in connection with the death of his 5-month-old son, Anne Arundel County police said.

Savoy Stanley Saunders, 24, has been in jail since May 4, when he was arrested and charged with assault after officials at Johns Hopkins Hospital informed police of the injuries to Jeremiah S. Saunders.

Hospital officials suspected that the child had been violently shaken, police said.

The child died May 5. There have been seven homicides in Anne Arundel County this year.

Police said Savoy Saunders was staying at the Park Way Inn in Jessup when the alleged abuse occurred.

They said the baby's mother picked the child up from a visit with Savoy Saunders, noticed the injuries and took the child to Howard County General Hospital.

The baby was transferred to Hopkins in critical condition.

Savoy Saunders is being held without bail at Anne Arundel County Detention Center.

Infant deaths caused by shaking have earned recognition as a public health problem in recent years.

In many cases involving infants with similar injuries, including several in recent years in Howard and Baltimore counties, a caretaker was found to have shaken the baby violently in frustration at being unable to stop the infant's crying.

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, a baby can suffer serious brain damage from being shaken for as little as 20 seconds.

Babies' heads are large in relation to their bodies and their necks are weak, so they are prone to suffer head and spinal injuries from shaking, according to the center's Web site.

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