When Markeda Oyeyinka died on Monday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that her death was a homicide. She had suffered the effects of shaken baby syndrome.
Tragic to be sure, but the interesting part is that Oyeyinka was 17 years old.
Like one-third of all children who have been diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, Oyeyinka survived for years after having been rushed to the hospital as an infant showing signs of multiple injuries to her head and neck. But like many of those who are thought to have been vigorously shaken by a caregiver, she also endured a lifetime of health and developmental problems.
The girl’s mother, Theresa Oyeyinka, won’t be charged with homicide. Back in 1993, after her daughter had suffered multiple injuries, which authorities alleged were the result of having been shaken, the elder Oyeyinka was charged with the felony of aggravated battery. She was acquitted of those charges and can’t be charged for the same crime again.
According to Chicago Breaking News.com, the girl’s death is the result of a lack of oxygen to her brain, which itself is the result of a blunt head trauma years before. Pneumonia and complications from diabetes are also thought to have contributed to her death.
In recent years, some health experts have stepped forward to question the “shaken baby syndrome” diagnosis. Simulated tests appear to conclude that many child deaths thought to be from this type of abuse require an amount of human force that is virtually impossible without also showing signs of some kind of accompanying impact to the head.
In the case of Oyeyinka, the coroner’s report mentions blunt head trauma from years ago.