Innocent Lost: Maliyah Gartrell

March 16, 2014 

Maliyah Gartrell, 13 months

BORN: February 4, 2012

DIED: March 8, 2012

CAUSE OF DEATH: Evolving anoxic encephalopathy of unspecified etiology with acute skull fractures and subarachnois hematomas

MANNER OF DEATH: Undetermined

HER STORY: Born premature, Maliyah Gartrell spent the first two weeks of her life in a hospital, and had been home for only two weeks before she was found unresponsive in her bassinet by her mother, Jessica Scott.

Rushed back to hospital by paramedics, Maliyah could not be revived, and was later found to have two skull fractures that Scott and the girl's father, Michael Gartrell, were unable to explain. They admitted that for a few days their daughter had exhibited labored breathing, rattling in her chest and seizure-like symptoms. Although neither parent had taken the child to see a doctor, Scott and Gartrell denied hurting Maliyah and asked that they be allowed to take a polygraph test.

Despite the couple's insistence that they had not hurt the child, DCF's review of the case said that "medical evidence obtained during the course of the case suggests otherwise." The state's Child Protection Team determined that Maliyah's injuries were the result of significant trauma on at least two occasions.

But a medical examiner declared the cause of death to be undetermined, saying the fractures could have occurred at birth.

There were no prior reports involving Maliyah but there was one that referred to a sibling who was in the care of someone else. No other details about that case were provided.

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