Entries in Baby (58)


Person of Interest Questioned in Shooting Death of Chicago Baby

Courtesy the Family(CHICAGO) -- Police are questioning a person of interest in the fatal drive-by shooting of a 6-month-old Chicago baby, reported ABC's Chicago station WLS-TV.

Jonylah Watkins was shot five times, along with her father, Jonathan Watkins, 29, in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood on March 11. Watkins was changing his daughter's diaper in a car when police said someone fired on the pair.

Jonylah's parents held hands at a news conference Sunday as their pastor, Corey Brooks, said they hoped that whoever killed their baby would be brought to justice.

"We think that every day it is going to happen. Every single day we are hopeful and thankful, you know, that it is going to happen," Brooks said, as reported by WLS. "We are hoping that it will be in the next 24 hours."

A Chicago police spokesman declined to comment to, citing the ongoing investigation.

Baby Jonylah became the face of Chicago's gun violence epidemic when she was sprayed with bullets almost three months ago by an assailant who police said they believe was targeting her father.

The 6-month-old was treated at Comer Children's Hospital, where she died of her injuries the next day.

"This is another tragedy, because no child, certainly not an infant, should be a victim of gang violence," Garry McCarthy, Chicago's police chief, said after the shooting. "Although there are a lot of angles that we're pursuing, there are very strong gang overtones to this particular event."

Police said Jonathan Watkins had known gang affiliations, but Brooks, his pastor, said that Watkins was not affiliated with any of Chicago's four major street gangs, and had not been in trouble with the law since 2007.

As Watkins stood behind Brooks on Sunday, the pastor said the 29-year-old had been inspired to better his life after the fatal shooting of his daughter.

"Jonathan has been very cooperative. He has worked with the police diligently, and he wants the person to be caught," Brooks said.

"He's working now. The fact that he's getting a GED, all of that stuff, was not happening before," he said. "Even though this was a horrific thing that happened, we are going to try to do our very best to make their life a better life."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Two Teens Arrested in Georgia Baby Shooting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BRUNSWICK, Ga.) -- Two teenage suspects, one as young as 14, have been arrested in the shooting death of a 1-year-old Georgia boy, who was killed as his mother pushed him in a stroller, police announced Friday.

Chief Tobe Green of the Brunswick Police Department said that Demarquis Elkins, 17, and a 14-year-old unidentified suspect whose name has been withheld because of his age, were arrested early this morning in connection with the baby's death, and both have been charged with first-degree murder.

"We are still investigating the motive, but we are trying to turn every stone to make sure we get a motive," Green said.

Green declined to provide further details, other than to say it continued to be an open investigation, and that no weapon had yet been recovered.

Under Georgia law, Elkins is considered an adult, Green said, but the younger suspect is considered a minor.

"We are still following up on leads from our witnesses and are still involved in collecting evidence," Green said. Search warrants had been issued at three locations near Brunswick, which has a population of about 15,500 people.

Brunswick police, along with a SWAT team and various agencies, had launched a vast manhunt across the Glynn County area in search of the two teenage suspects after the shooting on Thursday morning.

Sherry West, the 41-year-old mother of the child, told police she'd been walking her 13-month-old son, Antonio, in a stroller Thursday morning through their Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood when two African-American boys approached her and demanded money. When she told them she didn't have any money, West said one of the boys pulled out a handgun.

"He said, 'I'm going to kill you if you don't give me money,' and I said, 'I swear I don't have any,"' West told WAWS-TV in Jacksonville, Fla.

West said she tried to shield her child with her arms, but the gunman shoved her and shot the baby in the head. West was shot in the leg.

Going on West's description, police said they began looking for two African-American boys between the ages of 10 and 15 years old since Thursday. No details about how the suspects were arrested were given.

Officer Todd Rhodes, a spokesman for the Brunswick Police Department, confirmed that the weapon used in the shooting was a handgun but declined to describe it further.

Since the shooting, police said 30 different leads had been called into the Brunswick Police Department and the Glynn County Police Department, or were submitted through email. Police said the Glynn County School Board Campus Police had been assisting law enforcement in combing school attendance records for leads.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Zoo Workers Step in to Mother Abandoned Baby Gorilla

File Photo (Hemera/Thinkstock)(CINCINNATI) -- Workers at the Cincinnati Zoo have taken on a new role: surrogate mommy.

An infant gorilla was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, on Jan. 29. Her mother rejected her. She was flown to Cincinnati, where two gorilla mothers were available as surrogates.

But before Gladys can be left in their care, a cast of zookeepers will have to step in and teach Gladys how to be a gorilla.

“Gorillas are not a lot different than people in that they have their own language and rules of etiquette,” Ron Evans, primate team leader for the Cincinnati Zoo, told ABC News.  “They have to start learning these rules from the day they are born.”

This kind of surrogacy is practiced with several species of apes, including chimpanzees and orangutans.

A rotation of three are already wearing black hair vests,  grunting, grooming and walking on their knuckles around her. Once Gladys is strong enough, they’ll don black hair vests and carry her around, just as a biological mother would do.

Gorillas are carried by their mothers for their first 18 months, and only weaned at about three years.

“There are good moms and bad moms, just like humans,” said Ron Magill of the Miami Metro Zoo. “Sometimes new moms will reject their babies.”

Now the baby gorilla is being raised by six human surrogates who will tend to her around the clock.

They don’t want any one surrogate to get too close, because that could create attachment issues once Gladys is sent to live with her gorilla surrogates.

The workers give her daily checkups and participate in activities  such as Tummy Time to strengthen her neck muscles, and practice gripping.

The interaction is intended to prepare Gladys for her new ride — on the back of an adoptive gorilla mother at the zoo — as well as prepare her to join the rest of the troop.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Family Feuds over NFL Player Jovan Belcher's Million-Dollar Baby

Jamie Squire/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The grandparents of a 4-month old girl, orphaned when her football player-father Jovan Belcher killed her mother and himself, are locked in a bitter custody dispute over the tiny heiress set to inherit nearly $3 million.

Tiny Zoey Belcher is entitled to millions in life insurance, annual payments and retirement funds from the NFL as the sole heir to Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs who killed himself and the girl's mother, girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, in December.

A lawyer for Perkins' family said the family was seeking permanent custody of the girl.

"Personally, I don't know why we would want to reward Jovan's -- the murderer's -- family with giving them the baby, but that's not a legal argument," lawyer Jon Michal Franks told ABC News.

The baby was initially in the custody of Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd. Shepherd alleges that she gave the baby to Perkins' family because they wanted to take the infant with them to attend Perkins' funeral in Texas. Once there the girl's maternal grandparents cut off all contact with Belcher's family, according to her lawyer.

"Cheryl agreed to temporarily allow the maternal relatives [to] take Zoey to Texas for her mother's funeral," Shepherd's lawyer, Gretchen M. Gold, wrote in an email to the Jackson County, Mo., probate commissioner last week. "The maternal relatives have now ceased communicating with Cheryl Shepherd and have refused to return her calls or return the child to her care."

Franks disputes that, saying Shepherd willingly brought and left the baby with her maternal family in Texas.

The families are now locked in a custody dispute in two different states, with Belcher's family suing in Missouri and Perkins' family seeking custody in Texas.

"Cheryl left the baby [in Texas] voluntarily after Kasandra's memorial. There was no baby snatching at all," Franks said.

The Missouri court will hear arguments on Friday. A court date in Texas has been set for Jan. 22.

Franks said Belcher's mother was initially given custody following the murder-suicide because she was the only next-of-kin at the scene and someone had to immediately take care of the child.

"My impression is that the family here in Texas may have a more stable environment, and be better suited to take care of the child," said Franks.

Under the current NFL players' contract, Zoey's estate or guardian is entitled to more than $100,000 for the next five years and around $50,000 until she turns 18 or until 23 if she attends college. She also stands to inherit a $600,000 life insurance payout, plus nearly $1 million through her father's NFL retirement account.

On Dec. 1, 2012, Belcher, who played for the Chiefs in every game since 2009, shot Perkins multiple times at their home. He then drove to the team's stadium, where he killed himself in front of his coaches and police.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Infant in Womb Shown Holding Doctor’s Hand

A Classic Pin-Up Photography(NEW YORK) -- Nevaeh Atkins was going to be born soon enough.  She just wanted a helping hand, evidently.

And she got one from her doctor, as seen in a photo snapped on Oct. 9 by her father just before her birth via C-section.

In the photo, Nevaeh grips Dr. Allan Sawyer’s hand even before emerging from her mother’s womb.

“I just thought right away that it was a beautiful, amazing photo that I had never seen before,” Nevaeh’s mother, Alicia Atkins, told ABC News.  “I knew it was special right away."

“When my doctor broke my water, the doctor told my husband, ‘Hey, she’s holding my finger,’” Alicia said.  ”He had my camera, and so they were able to capture the moment of her holding his hand.”

The Phoenix-area mom of three first saw the photo on Oct. 10, but she had her assessment of its specialness affirmed after she posted it Dec. 26 on the Facebook page of her Glendale, Ariz., photography company, A Classic Pin-Up, and drew the attention of ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV and other local media.

The picture is only emerging now because Alicia kept it under wraps for weeks after the birth as she enlarged it to give as a gift to Dr. Sawyer.  She wanted him to see it first, and wanted him to see it big.

“I’ve never captured that picture before,” Sawyer told KNXV.  “It’s really rare.”

“We actually weren’t going to put a copy of the photo in our house because we didn’t know the reaction of people, whether it was too graphic or not,” Alicia told ABC News.

But after all the coverage the picture attracted, she said, she and her husband changed their minds.  Now, Nevaeh (or “heaven” spelled backward) will grow up with it.

“We decided to put the photo in her room,” Alicia said, “so that she’ll always know how special it was.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Baby Switched at Minneapolis Hospital, Breastfed by Wrong Mom

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A newborn baby will have to undergo a year of medical tests for HIV and hepatitis because he was accidentally put in the wrong bassinette by a Minneapolis hospital and then breastfed by the wrong mother.

The mix-up happened Wednesday in Abbott Northwestern Hospital when Tammy Van Dyke's little boy Cody was accidentally switched to the wrong bassinette in the nursery.

"You put your baby in the nursery, not even 48-hours old, and you think they're safe," Van Dyke told ABC News.  "I'm holding it together.  I'm just in disbelief, and it was like I was in a dream, a bad dream, and I couldn't get it to stop."

Van Dyke was told about the incident two hours after it happened and just hours before she was going to take Cody home.

The infant had to undergo blood testing for HIV and hepatitis immediately following the switch.

"It was horrible," Van Dyke said.  "Two nurses had to go in through veins in his tiny little arms."

Although the tests came back negative, Abbott Northwestern Hospital told Van Dyke her newborn son would have to undergo blood testing every three months for a year.

Hospital spokeswoman Gloria O'Connell said the tests were "just a precaution," but declined to elaborate because of patient confidentiality.

Van Dyke was able to speak with the other mother, who had to wait 20 minutes before her baby, Liam, was located.

"It gave me peace of mind to talk to her," Van Dyke said.  "She was just as distraught as me that this happened to her, and in the meantime, also didn't know where her baby was.  She has twins."

In an apology letter given to Van Dyke, the hospital states:

"Please accept this letter with our sincerest apologies for what occurred today at the hospital, that in the nursery your newborn son was placed in the wrong bassinette and then was taken to the wrong mother and breastfed.  The hospital agrees to pay for the additional testing that you had done today and will also pay for the tests recommended for your son related to this incident up to one year."

And in a press release from Abbott Northwestern, practicing obstetrician and Chief Clinical Officer of Allina Health, Dr. Penny Wheeler, said, "As an obstetrician, I have personally seen verification of the infant's identifying name band matched correctly with the mother's on hundreds of occasions.  It is extremely unfortunate that was not the case this time.  We sincerely apologize to the involved families and will make certain we understand why our procedures were not appropriately followed in this case."

"I will be thankful to God when this year's over and he's cleared all his health tests and we don't have to think about this again," Van Dyke said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Thanksgiving, Family of Baby with Rare Disease “So Grateful”

Courtesy of Jenna Buswell(SEATTLE) -- A stranger who raffles his beloved race car to help a baby he’s never met.

A caring, intrepid team of doctors halfway around the world, who could save that baby’s life.

And watching that wide-eyed baby giggle with his 3-year-old sister.

They’re the moments that make the parent of a child with a disease so rare he’s just one of 14 people in the world who have it thankful.

“I think life throws a lot of curveballs, and this is definitely one of them,” said Jenna Buswell, the mother of 9-month-old Casen Buswell.

The past nine months have been spent taking Casen, who is only one of 14 people in the world with a rare vascular disease called glomuvenous malformations plaque type, to doctor’s appointments.

The disease causes Casen’s breathing to be labored and his blood vessels, skin and muscles to harden, something that will only worsen as he gets older unless he receives lifesaving care in Belgium, where a husband and wife team are the only doctors in the world who have experience treating the rare disease.

“Being a special education teacher, I’m used to working with high needs children. I never envisioned that was going to my life at home,” Buswell said. “We’re so grateful Casen is our son so we can fight for him and advocate for him.”

Through the bad news at doctors’ appointments, the hospital stays and medical bills, Jenna Buswell said she’s been overwhelmed by the generosity and support her family has received from strangers, making this Thanksgiving, baby Casen’s first, especially meaningful for the Puyallup, Wash., family.

“We’ll be thinking about what everyone else is doing who helped us. And what they have done for us and we look forward to the day when we can give back,” she said.

Buswell said she keeps a scrapbook documenting all of the acts of kindness, many on the part of complete strangers that have touched her family, in the hope that she will one day be able to teach her son about gratitude.

There was racing enthusiast Ron Cook, from nearby Arlington, who raffled his beloved 1957 Chevy Bel Air netting $11,000 for the family, who were complete strangers to him before he saw a report on ABC News’ affiliate KOMO.

The good deed was then carried on when the winner of the car, octogenarian Della Phillip, vowed to sell it and donate the proceeds to the Buswell family.

Then there are the doctors, including those in the United States, who have treated Casen and kept in communication with his specialists in Belgium.

And the strangers, the people who heard about Casen’s story and left encouraging notes for the Buswells or donated to them online.

“The thing I want everyone to know is that our Thanksgiving table may be small when we’re eating dinner, but it’s really going to be quite large. I’ll be thinking of everyone who has helped us,” Buswell said. “This Thanksgiving is about living every moment to the fullest.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Abandoned Texas Boy Reunited with Fireman Who Found Him as Infant

Comstock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- When 10-year-old Koregan Quintanilla's teacher asked him where he would go if he could go anywhere, the boy said he would to go "his fire station" to meet the fireman who found him when he was abandoned as a baby.

Koregan's tenth birthday wish came true when the two were reunited Thursday at Arlington's Fire Station No. 12 in Texas.

It was on a cold November morning 10 years ago that fireman Wesley Keck noticed something unusual outside the firehouse--a baby carrier covered with a blanket.

"When I looked at it, it was kind of one of those double-take things because you don't think that's what you're going to see first thing in the morning," Keck told ABC News. "As soon as I realized what it was, I just went over to the side door and opened it up and he's kind of tucked into the corner there."

Keck saw a sleeping baby boy tucked into the carrier with an extra diaper and a bottle.

"Somebody went a few extra steps to make sure he was going to be okay and taken care of," Keck said. He scooped up the carrier and headed into the firehouse where two other firefighters were also awake.

"I announced to them that we had a surprise. We had a little gift and we kind of went to work from there," he said. "I didn't do anything special. I just happened to be the one that was there that day and found him."

Under Texas' Baby Moses Law, implemented in 2001, a person can leave an infant up to 60 days old at a hospital or fire station with no questions asked for Child Protective Services to take custody of.

The healthy little boy, who doctors believed was only about a day old, was taken by Texas' Child Protective Services and Keck heard that he was adopted, but knew little else.

"I knew the town that he probably was in, but that was it," Keck said. "And that happens on a lot of calls, good and bad. After we walk away that day we never know the outcome of it, so it was really nice to get the outcome."

Over the years, Keck had kept in his locker a photo of Koregan from the morning he was found.

"I talked about him several times over the years and just wondering over the last few years, wondering how things are going for him, where he was at, what he looked like, all those sorts of things," he said.

Recently, Koregan's teacher asked about his bucket list.

"What happened is his teacher asked him if he could be anywhere, if he could go anywhere, what's on his bucket list, and he said, to come to his fire station," Koregan's mother Rebecca Quintanilla told ABC News' Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA-TV at the reunion.

She reached out to the fire station and set up the reunion.

"I thought that was really cool," Keck said. "I'm glad that he thought of it that way and that he wanted to come there because obviously I wanted to meet him so it worked out great for both of us."

An emotional Koregan wrapped his arms tightly around Keck when the two met and his mom joined in on the hug as his dad and sisters stood by watching tearfully.

In addition to meeting "his firefighter," Koregan got to go for a ride in the firetruck, work the sirens and operate the truck's hose. Keck was also able to give the family the negative from the first photo of Koregan, which they did not have. He also learned that Koregan has dreams of being a fireman.

"He wants to be a fireman and maybe one of these days he can work for Arlington," Keck said.

"I was excited that I got to meet him," Koregan told WFAA of Keck. "I'm glad I get to come here and see everyone because this is my fire station that I was abandoned at."

Keck reassured Koregan that he would always have a fire station family.

"I told him anytime that he wants to come to the fire station and ride out with us, or he's got anything special going on in his life that he wants people to be there for, to let me know," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get to keep in contact with each other."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Neighbor Posts $30,000 Reward for Missing Pennsylvania Baby

Comstock/Thinkstock(KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.) -- A neighbor in the town where a 10-month-old baby disappeared after her grandmother was murdered has put up a $30,000 reward for information on the crimes.

A woman who lives in King of Prussia, Pa., put up the money to help find Saanvi Venna, who was taken from her apartment in the town on Monday morning after her grandmother was killed, according to Upper Merion Township police.

Police declined to identify the woman except to say she is of Indian descent and has been living in King of Prussia for the past 12 years.

Police said they are working on a homicide investigation and search and rescue mission to recover the child.

An autopsy was performed on the girl's grandmother, 67-year-old Satyavathi Venna, who was babysitting while the baby's parents were out of the apartment. The results of the autopsy have not been made public.

Satyavathi had been visiting her son and his family in Pennsylvania from India. The grandmother was scheduled to return in January 2013, according to police.

Police said they believe the baby was taken between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday, and are looking for any suspects who may have had ill-will toward the Venna family.

Police searched a wooded area behind the apartment complex Wednesday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Upper Merion Police department has not given any other details on the investigation or the woman who offered the $30,000 reward.

The police and FBI have issued an Amber Alert for the child, who is of Indian descent and has black hair and brown eyes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Abducted 3-Week-Old in Illinois Found Alive; Mother Arrested

Stark County Sheriff's Office(TOULON, Ill.) -- An abducted 3-week-old baby girl from Illinois, who was kidnapped in front of a post office, was found alive on a rural gravel road Thursday night, authorities said.

Mia Graci Thompson was abducted in Toulon, Ill., a small town about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, on Wednesday morning at around 8:10 a.m. She was reportedly taken from the back seat of a vehicle, according to the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

Mia's mother, Kendra Meaker, 19, was arrested in connection with the kidnapping, ABC News affiliate WQAD reported.

An Amber Alert that was issued earlier was canceled at about 8 p.m.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children had previously categorized the case as a "Non Family Abduction."

Authorities said Mia has been taken to a local hospital to be examined.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio