Tabitha Mays wanted to get some uninterrupted sleep after she gave birth to her son nearly two weeks early. It was Jan. 24. She and her then-boyfriend Dakota Fox were living in a home in Crimora.
Mays was giving bottle feeding a chance with her newborn son, Walker. The doctor had given her the OK to pump breast milk. This was the first night they'd give it a go.
It was the first night Fox was taking care of the infant alone, Mays said. When Mays went to sleep her son was sleeping soundly in a swing chair. When Fox woke her up, Walker was crying and she was told he wouldn't take the bottle.
But that night, everything changed.
According to Mays, she went to sleep around 10:30 p.m. Hours later she was woken up to Fox and her crying child.
Mays struggled the rest of the night to calm her son down. Any time she would lay him down he would scream and only slight relief would come when she held him.
Mays thought Walker might be sick and decided to call her pediatrician once the office opened in the morning, which she did. By the time she got an appointment 12 hours had passed, but Mays wasn't told what was done to her child when she was sleeping.
It didn't take long for Dr. Jessica Sallwasser of Augusta Pediatrics Clinic in Fishersville to notice marks that appeared to be bruising on several different places on the child's head. According to Sallwasser, the child had what appeared to be bruising on the back of his left ear, swelling to his right eye and swelling to the back of the head.
The doctor said the child would cry if there was any pressure put on the affected areas. She also found dried blood in his nose and inside his upper lip.
That's when the baby was taken to Augusta Health for further tests. Doctors at Augusta Health confirmed that child had a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain. Both Mays and Fox talked to authorities at Augusta Health and that's when Fox's story came to light.
While taking care of his son, he had "plopped down on the couch," according to his defense attorney Tyler Jerrell, and hit the child's head on a large Yeti cup that was on a table nearby.
"It wasn't obvious to Dakota that (they injuries) were serious," Jerrell said. "We have no evidence that Dakota did anything."
After being given an IV, the baby was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center for further treatment.
"The force it takes to have a skull fracture and hematoma bleeding takes more than an incidental bump," said Dr. Lynne McDaniel, a U.Va. emergency room pediatrician, during her testimony.
The assistant commonwealth attorney for Augusta County didn't believe "this odd little story that the defense" told.
"We're talking about an individual who had his child struck by a metal cup and did nothing for 12 hours," said Kyle Powers. "He knew something was wrong. He admitted to changing his story. We have a dude sitting here that hid the fact that he harmed his child because he was afraid his girlfriend would leave him."
After nearly four hours in the courtroom, Augusta County Judge Paul A. Dyer came back with a guilty verdict.
"The court does not find the explanation credible," Dyer said. "The more troubling part of the case was the defendant didn't offer any explanation to the mother. The father did not provide an explanation to the mother on why the child was acting this way.
According to the defense, the child's head hit a Yeti cup on a table. But doctors said there had to be more force behind the action to cause those injuries.
The baby is adorable. Please don;t post any pictures of the baby please.
Last edited by a moderator: