Shanica Callaghan is charged with killing 11-month-old Jeremiah Callaghan, who was the child of her stepdaughter
A Queens woman who took custody of her stepdaughter’s child shook the baby to death, prosecutors said Tuesday.Shanica Callaghan, 29, thrashed 11-month-old Jeremiah Callaghan so violently she fractured his skull, prosecutors said.
She’s now charged with the boy’s murder.
When Jeremiah initially fell ill on Aug. 31, 2017, police tried to determine whether he was shaken or had an allergic reaction to formula.
The boy died on Sept. 6, 2017. Further investigation and an autopsy showed the baby suffered a traumatic brain injury, retinal hemorrhages to both eyes, and extensive spinal cord damage, all consistent with abusive head trauma from violent and repetitive forces of being shaken, according to the district attorney’s office.
Jeremiah lived with his grandfather, Clinton Callaghan, 54, his wife, Shanica, and their three daughters.
The baby’s mother lived in Texas when he died and gave him to her father and his wife to raise because she had a drug problem, prosecutors said.
“Sadly, one of his rescuers is now accused of killing him,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
“In a heart-breaking turn of events, the baby boy that today should be learning how to walk and talk is dead and buried.”
Shanica and Clinton Callaghan took Jeremiah and their own children to Brookville Playground at about 6 p.m. on Aug. 31, and returned to their home on 144th Ave. near 231st St. in Springfield Gardens about 90 minutes later.
Callaghan told police that while she was alone with the boy, she changed his diaper and gave him a bottle, but when she burped him, he started vomiting and had difficulty breathing, prosecutors said.
Medics rushed him to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where doctors listed him as brain dead.
Shanica Callaghan is awaiting trial and is being charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She was ordered held after her arraignment in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday evening. If found guilty, she faces up to 25 years to life in prison.