Sinead St. Omer, the mother accused of starving her 5-month-old daughter to death in 2013, is facing new charges of aggravated child neglect in Davidson County related to her 10-month-old daughter.
The new charges stem from a 2018 stay at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Omer took her daughter to the hospital, claiming the infant wasn't defecating properly and was consistently vomiting up food. During this time, Omer had been released from jail after a 2017 mistrial over her other daughter's death.
The indictment was tossed out after the mistrial, but has been since reinstated following an appeal in 2018. She and Terry Craighead, her then-partner, are facing felony murder and child abuse charges in the 2013 death of their daughter Skyler Craighead.
Suspicious after a few days into the May 2018 hospital stay, medical staff moved Omer and her 10-month-old daughter to a room with hidden cameras to monitor Omer's actions. Caught on video was Omer shoving a spoon down her infant daughter's throat to induce vomiting, Metro Nashville Police Department Officer James Reese testified in court Thursday. Omer was unaware she was being monitored through video surveillance, Reese said.
Omer applied pressure to her daughter's stomach to induce vomiting and used a drink to smear the vomit around to make it appear like more than what it was. Additionally, Reese said, Omer hid her daughter's used diapers to trick medical staff into thinking the baby wasn't defecating.
The mother refused to admit that she was inducing her baby's vomiting and faking an illness. She did tell Reese she poured a drink on the bed to appear like vomit, because she felt medical staff wasn't paying enough attention to her daughter.
“I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say that the only thing she was honest with me about was her name, date of birth, phone number and address," Reese said. "There were so many lies being told to me.”
After Omer's arrest, the baby was placed with a family friend who was previously a foster parent and approved by the Department of Children's Services. Since the baby has been removed from Omer's care, she's been thriving, Reese said.
She has two other children, both of whom have been placed with their grandmother. Omer is currently pregnant now, attorneys said in court.
Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor ruled Thursday that Omer should be held without bond in light of her additional charges out of Davidson County.
During Reese's investigation, he obtained Omer's phone through a search warrant in May 2018 and looked at its Google history.
The officer testified that Omer had been Googling Tennessee child abuse laws, how to raise a baby's blood pressure, vegan diets for babies and babies dying from vegan diets.
While her infant daughter was hospitalized, Omer started a GoFundMe, claiming she was a poor single mother with a sick baby. She deleted the online fundraiser after Reese interviewed her, but attempted to net $2,500.
The 27-year-old woman first came under legal pressure during her trial in 2017 with her then-partner Terry Craighead, whom police accused of starving their 5-month-old daughter, Skyler Craighead, to death. Skyler hadn't been well since birth. She had heart surgery and DiGeorge syndrome diagnosis, but it's rare for children not to live to adulthood with such a condition, a doctor testified in 2017.
After hearing from prosecution, witnesses and the defense for two weeks, Judge Taylor declared a mistrial. A La Vergne Police detective failed to obtain the baby's feeding machine with digital records, tubing and feeding bags as "a key piece of evidence."
"All of that could have been gathered," Taylor said at the time, who noted that a search warrant could have been issued if needed. "Obviously, the feeding machine was relevant to this case."
After prosecutors appealed the decision in 2018, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee in Nashville sided with prosecution and reversed Taylor's appeal, thereby reinstating Omer and Craighead's murder charges.
A status hearing for the Rutherford County death case is scheduled for Aug. 30 in Taylor's court room.
Sinead Omer, the mom accused of starving her infant daughter to death in 2013, is facing new child neglect charges related to her 10-month-old baby.
Link to mistrial information
Judge: Investigators failed to collect key evidence