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Rosedale woman charged in death of infant step-grandson: DA
Eight months after an infant died from apparent shaken-baby syndrome, his Rosedale step-grandmother is charged with his murder,
By Naeisha Rose

A Rosedale woman has been charged with murder for allegedly causing the death of her 11-month-old step-grandson, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Shanica Callaghan, 29, was charged with murder, assault and endangering the welfare of a child in the September 2017 death of Jeremiah Callaghan. Brown said the baby died as a result of abusive head trauma consistent with the baby being violently shaken.

On Aug. 31, 2017, at 6 p.m., Callaghan and her husband, Clinton, took baby Jeremiah and the couple’s three biological children to Brookville Playground, according to the charges. The couple returned home around 7:30 p.m., and the child appeared healthy, Brown said.

Callaghan claimed that while she was alone with Jeremiah in the house, she changed his diaper, gave him a bottle, and that when she burped the baby, he began to vomit and had difficulty breathing, according to the charges.

Brown said the baby was then rushed to Jamaica Hospital in cardiac arrest and was placed on a ventilator. He was transferred to Cohen Children’s Medical Center and died Sept. 6, 2017.

An autopsy later showed the baby suffered a traumatic brain injury with subdural hemorrhages, extensive retinal hemorrhages to both eyes, a detached left retina and extensive spinal cord damage, according to the charges. The findings and cause of death are consistent with Abusive Head Trauma from violent and repetitive forces of being shaken, in addition to blunt force trauma to the baby’s body and head, the DA said.

“The defendant and her husband — the baby’s grandfather — had gained custody of the toddler after his mother began abusing drugs,” Brown said. “In a heart-breaking turn of events, the baby boy [who] 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.”

Callaghan is currently waiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, she faces up to 25 years to life in prison, Brown said.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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