CME: Baby was killed by blunt force trauma

Dr. Jeffrey Nine

The island’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Jeffrey Nine – a forensic pathologist, confirmed following the autopsy of the one-year-old son of Giltinan Ramangmou that the baby boy’s manner of death was homicide.

On his death certificate: Blunt force head injuries due to battered child syndrome.

Ms. Ramangmou is in jail, charged with his murder after her boyfriend and the father of the baby allegedly told police he witnessed her punching the baby hours before police found him dead in their home. In a twist, a man who approached Kandit claiming to be the father – Paul John Cruz – said he will be reporting to the Office of the Attorney General today that police forced him to make that statement and that Ms. Ramangmou is innocent.

If Ms. Ramangmou takes her case to trial, a jury now has both his written statement to police and the CME’s pathology report corroborating the baby’s homicide. The case may be complicated if Mr. Cruz is called as a witness and provides different testimony.

“Battered child syndrome is defined as the collection of injuries sustained by a child as a result of repeated mistreatment or beating,” according to a report by the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. “If a child’s injuries indicate intentional trauma or appear to be more severe than could reasonably be expected to result from an accident, battered child syndrome should be suspected.”

A full investigation, according to the DOJ report, includes obtaining witness statements that can corroborate the child was battered rather than having succumbed to accidents that can explain injuries, like falls. Other corroborative evidence could include the child’s medical record, according to the report.

Mr. Cruz’s witness statement against Ms. Ramangmou is the only publicly-known witness statement corroborating a case of battered child syndrome.

Asked how his son could have sustained the injuries police and the medical examiner noted, Mr. Cruz said his girlfriend told him the baby fell a few times before, though he did not specify how many times.

“When I saw my son’s injuries, it wasn’t that bad,” he said. “It was a bump. I didn’t think anything of it. Yeah, maybe I’m wrong for not getting him medical attention, but that does not make us murderers.”

‘The child fell,’ often is a reason caretakers give to police to explain injuries in child homicide cases, according to the DOJ report. The report calls the caretaker’s mention of possible causes of death as “killer couches,” “killer stairs,” and “killer cribs.” “Abusers frequently use these items in their explanation of a child’s death,” the report states.

A report by the National Institutes of Health states a child suspected of having suffered battered child syndrome should be checked for certain injuries. “Abusive head trauma can be seen as multiple subdural hematomas, inter-hemispheric hemorrhage, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, and brain edema,” the study states.

Those findings, the study says, should be checked against the explanation the caregiver(s) give to investigators.

“Often a mismatch between the clinical findings and the history, provided by the child caregivers, is a main diagnostic finding among the victims of the Battered Child Syndrome,” the case study states.

Dr. Nine has deferred any further comment on the autopsy to GPD, while the case remains under investigation.

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