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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

A Rosedale woman faces 25 years in prison for allegedly causing the death of her 11-month-old step-grandson last year.

Police announced on May 1 that Shanica Callaghan, 29, was charged on April 24 with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child under the age of 17. If convicted, Callaghan faces 25 years to life in prison.

According to charges, at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2017, Callaghan and her husband Clinton Callaghan, 59, took 11-month-old Jeremiah Callaghan and the couple’s three biological children to Brookville Playground. After returning home at 7:30 p.m., Jeremiah appeared healthy.

Callaghan claimed that while she was home alone with Jeremiah, she changed his diaper and gave him a bottle. When she went to burp Jeremiah, he began to vomit and had trouble breathing.

Jeremiah was rushed to Jamaica Hospital in cardiac arrest. He was placed on a ventilator and transferred to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where he died on Sept. 6, 2017.

An autopsy revealed that Jeremiah had suffered a traumatic brain injury with subdural hemorrhages, extensive retinal hemorrhages to both eyes, a detached left retina and extensive spinal cord damage. The cause of death and injuries are consistent with abusive head trauma from violent and repetitive forces of being shaken, in addition to blunt force trauma to Jeremiah’s body and head.

“The defendant and her husband — the baby’s grandfather — had gained custody of the toddler after his mother began abusing drugs. Sadly, one of his rescuers is now accused of killing him,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “In a heart-breaking turn of events, the baby boy that today should be learning how to walk and talk is dead and buried. His skull was fractured and there was bleeding on the brain and other horrible, unimaginable injuries. The defendant now faces the possibility of spending the rest of her life behind bars.”

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