Two charged in infants’ deaths

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Jamal Bailey (left) and William Gardner (right) were charged Thursday in the deaths of two infants under their care.

Two county men have been charged in the deaths of infants under their care — one earlier this year and another exactly one year ago —  Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Thursday.

Jamal Bailey, 41 of Downingtown, has been charged with homicide for administering Seroquel, an anti-psychotic medication, to his ten month old daughter, causing her death in April, investigators said. Authorities said that an investigation showed that the child had been administered Seroquel for at least 30 days prior to her death and the defendant “wiped” his phone directly after her death.

William Gardner, 27, of West Brandywine has been charged with homicide for the abusive head trauma death of his four month old son on Dec. 7, 2016. An examination of the child’s body also revealed more than 15 rib fractures, eye damage, and brain injuries, authorities said.

Both defendants were the primary caretakers for their children and other causes for the fatal injuries have been ruled out.

“It is a tragedy when any child dies,” Hogan said in a statement. “But when children die at the hands of the people who are supposed to care for them and protect them, it is an outrage.

Bailey served as the sole care provider for his 10-month old daughter, Lynail Bailey.

On April 26, 2017, Downingtown police officers responded to a 911 call at the defendant’s residence. Police officers found the infant victim unresponsive, with a greenish mucus coming from her mouth and nose. She was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

An autopsy of the little girl revealed that she had died from quetiapine intoxication. Quetiapine, brand name Seroquel, is an anti-psychotic medication. It is not approved for use in children or infants. The victim was not prescribed this anti-psychotic drug.

The investigation revealed that the defendant had a prescription for Seroquel, which he was prescribed for a bi-polar diagnosis. Bailey allegedly told investigators that the baby was not a good sleeper, and the baby’s sleeping habits were making him tired. He told police that Seroquel made him sleepy.

However, the defendant denied giving Seroquel to the baby to get her to sleep.

The explanations offered for how the baby was exposed to Seroquel included the possibility that: (1) she reached the pill bottle of Seroquel from her crib and opened it; (2) the defendant inadvertently mixed the drug into her formula once; and (3) the pills were spilled throughout the residence.

A Chester County Detective had the foresight to recover hair from the infant victim. Hair samples can show how long a person has been exposed to a drug. In this case, investigators said, the baby’s hair sample revealed that she had been ingesting Seroquel for 30-45 days prior to her death.

The police seized the defendant’s phone after the death of his daughter. The defendant had “wiped” the contents of his phone after the baby’s death.

The defendant has been charged with third degree murder and related charges.

 “The Downingtown Borough Police Department and Chester County Detectives worked tirelessly to bring home this case,” Downingtown Police Chief Howard Holland said in a statement. “Child abuse cases require team-work, patience, and extraordinary efforts. We will continue to work to see that justice is done for this child victim.”

Anybody with information about this case should contact Downingtown Detective Andy Trautmann at (610) 269-0263 or Chester County Detective Jim Ciliberto at (610) 344-6866. Deputy District Attorney Megan King has been assigned to prosecute this case.

In the second case — which took investigators a year to complete — a man is charged with the violent death of his baby son.

In December of 2016, the Gardner was in charge of taking care of his four month old son, Ayden Gardner. Gardner’s mother worked during the day and he was unemployed and he was to take care of the baby.

On December 7, 2016, West Brandywine Township police officers responded to a 911 call at 20 Navajo Lane, West Brandywine. The defendant was at the residence with the infant victim. The baby was lying on a sofa, blue and cold to the touch. He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office was called in to investigate.

Chester County Detectives and the Chester County Coroner’s Office initiated a series of complex medical examinations of the infant victim involving multiple specialists.

The medical findings were deeply disturbing.

The baby, investigators said, had over 15 rib fractures, ranging from within days to over three months old (and the baby was only four months old). The victim had bruises on the spine and scalp. The brain of the infant showed acute and remote subdural hematomas, indicative of massive head trauma that was both recent and ongoing. The baby’s eyes revealed retinal hemorrhages and optic nerve hemorrhages. This constellation of injuries show a baby that was abused severely and consistently over at least three months.

The detectives interviewed everybody associated with the child. They all confirmed that the defendant was the primary caretaker for the child and that  nobody else had injured the baby in any way. On the date of the baby’s death, the witnesses described Gardner as calling them to report that something was wrong with the baby, but not calling 911. Gardner denied any accidental falls or injuries to the child and confirmed that he was always home with the baby.

The defendant  has been charged with third degree murder and related offenses. Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien is the assigned prosecutor. Anybody with information should contact Chester County Detective  Oscar Rosado at (610) 344-6866.

“Child abuse cases involving the death of an infant are complex and heartbreaking.” Hogan said. “Due to their age, the children could not have verbally reported the abuse to other family members. Now the children are dead. They will never be able to tell their stories. Instead, we will be relying on medical experts to explain what happened to these infants. We know that these are difficult cases. But somebody has to stand up for the children.”

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