Camryn Jakeb Wilson was bathed in TV lights the day he was born, celebrated on the local news as Summit County, Ohio 2008 New Year’s baby after his arrival at 12:33 a.m. on January 1.
Just 12 weeks later, he quietly died in his mother’s arms, the victim of shaken baby syndrome. Camryn was critically injured, with bleeding inside his head and in the backs of his eyes, and several broken ribs — some of which, according to the autopsy, turned out to be older injuries. Medical personnel at the hospital determined the combination of injuries could only mean abuse.
Camryn’s father, Craig R. Wilson, 28, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on murder and other charges August 20. Police say he confessed to shaking and squeezing the infant after arguing with his wife about a past romance. But he has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and faces trial in September.
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates as many as 1,400 babies annually are injured or killed by shaking. According to the center, 70 percent to 79 percent of people convicted of killing or hurting babies are men. The average age of perpetrators is 24, and 82 percent are either the parent of the victim or the live-in boyfriend of the mother.
Shaken baby syndrome, violently shaking an infant for just a few seconds can cause:
• Brain injury leading to paralysis, mild to severe cognitive impairment, cerebral palsy
• Broken bones
Normal activities such as bouncing a baby on one’s knee, tossing it in the air or jogging with a baby on one’s back do not cause shaken baby syndrome.
Camryn was blind and incapable of feeling someone touching him, he could not breathe on his own, and if he lived he would never be aware of his surroundings or even be capable of thinking, family members said. After almost two weeks of waiting for a miracle that would never come, his mother, Crystal Wilson, decided to withdraw life support. Various relatives took turns holding him as he gradually slipped away.
Camryn’s father was not among them as he remained in jail. Sheriff’s deputies took Craig Wilson to the funeral home for a brief, private viewing of the infant’s body the night before the funeral.
How to deal with crying – Steps to take if a baby is crying and you are getting flustered:
• Lay the baby on its back in its crib
• Put the crib rails up
• Leave the room
• Close the door
• Distract yourself with relaxing activities for a few minutes
• Call a friend or relative to take over if necessary
For more information and tools for coping with crying, visit the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome at http://www.dontshake.org.