In Chicago, a now-22 year old woman named Shawnquail Minnis is facing a first degree murder charge, after starving her 2-month-old to death.
According to court records, the young infant was so emaciated that that medical workers complained “could see facial bones and ribs through his skin”.
The baby’s birth records from the hospital show him being born at a healthy 8 pounds, 2 ounces. He died about 7 weeks later, weighing in at just 4 pounds, 13 ounces.
Minnis is now 7 months pregnant again, say prosecutors. She has two other children, which have been placed in foster care.
Minnis’ public defender said it was really unusual that she was not charged before this. Public defender, Toya Harvey, said that her client was never questioned about the death even when it happened. The family was also not aware that the baby’s death was considered a murder.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
In charging her with first-degree murder, prosecutors say Shawnquail Minnis, now 22, gave birth to a healthy, full-term baby on Sept. 13, 2014. The baby, Jashawn McBride, weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces, records show.
The infant weighed about the same when he was treated at a local hospital for a fungal infection in his mouth in early October 2014, according to Cook County assistant state’s attorney Bryan Grissman.
Prosecutors say the baby remained in his mother’s sole care until Nov. 4, 2014, when Jashawn was found unresponsive and not breathing by his mother and her friend. Paramedics took the infant to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.
Jashawn weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces at the time of his death, prosecutors said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s officer determined Jashawn died of starvation. The death was ruled a neglect homicide.
“The victim’s face was sunken in, showing his facial bones, and the victim’s ribs were visible through his skin,” Grissman said at Minnis’ bond hearing Sunday.
Her uncle, Tyrone Jordan, who was a frequent visitor at the Roseland neighborhood home where Minnis lived with her grandmother and baby, disputed the description of Jashawn’s skeletal frame. Jordan said he saw the baby about a week before his death and he appeared healthy.
“He was smiling and laughing,” Jordan said. “He didn’t look sick. If he was that skinny, I would have said, ‘Shawnquail, go feed this baby.'”
Minnis, who is seven months pregnant, is being held on $2 million bail at the Cook County Jail. She has two other children, both of whom are currently in foster care, prosecutors said.
Assistant public defender Toya Harvey called the two-year span between the baby’s death and the charges “unusual.” Harvey said her client was not questioned about Jashawn after his death and her family was not aware that authorities considered the death a murder until a few days ago.
“It just fell from the sky,” Jordan said. “It doesn’t make any sense. She is not a murderer. She might have been neglectful. … She doesn’t know how to raise a child. She was a baby raising a baby, but my niece is not a murderer.”
Prosecutors did not say why it took more than two years before charges were brought.
Minnis, who works as a department store cashier and attends community college, showed no emotion during her brief bond hearing. She was convicted of aggravated robbery in 2012 and was on probation for the offense when Jashawn was born, according to court records.