A father from Indiana has been charged after he allegedly shook his 5-month-old daughter and left her fighting for her life in a coma, according to police.
Dakota Moran, 21, was charged with level three felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury after his daughter Caroline Ann Moran was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition and placed in an induced coma on Wednesday, March 14, reported WANE.
Fort Wayne police responded to a call at a home in the 2300 block of South Calhoun Street, just before 12 p.m. on March 14. When they arrived, police found the infant not breathing and overheard Moran say, “I shook her but after she stopped breathing,” reported the news station, citing the probable cause affidavit. They said Moran was acting strange at the time.
Caroline was in her father’s care at the time of the incident. Moran told police that the baby’s mother had left for work around 8:30 a.m. that morning and that the baby was “healthy and acting normal.” Around 11 a.m., Caroline woke up and started crying like she was in pain. He noticed she was having trouble breathing. Her legs were locked and she went stiff before she started to shake, according to the probable cause affidavit, reported the news station.
Moran told police he tried to bounce his daughter back and forth to get her to breathe. He then asked a friend, who was visiting at the time, to call emergency services. He added that he was pressing the baby’s belly and chest to help her to breathe.
“I didn’t hurt my daughter intentionally if that is what you guys are thinking,” Moran said in the affidavit, reported the news station.
“Y’all are gonna have to kill me if your gonna take me to jail for something I didn’t do because I didn’t mean to [expletive] do it. Y’all are going to have to kill me if my daughter dies. I didn’t mean to do anything to her. I just tried to help her out,” he added.
Eventually, during police questioning, Moran admitted that he did shake the baby that day — approximately 30 to 60 minutes prior to the baby waking up in medical distress, according to the probable cause affidavit.
“I did shake her, but not hard,” the affidavit read, reported WANE.
“I didn’t shake her hard at all. I just don’t want to get in trouble. I love my daughter. I didn’t meant to hurt her. I didn’t think I hurt her, but I didn’t think I shook her that hard either. I didn’t shake her any harder than I would shake my kitten because you can hurt kittens the same way.”
Moran added that he “didn’t mean to do it and said he didn’t know his own strength,” police said.
He also told police that it was hard being a father and he was not used to being one. He added that a few days prior, he had opened the bathroom door so hard that a mirror broke because he had heard his daughter crying, reported the news station, citing the affidavit.
Doctors said the child’s brain was bleeding as a result of trauma and they also found another brain bleed that was 2 to 3 weeks old.
Little Caroline’s grandmother Jamie Lucas said she was devastated that her granddaughter is in a critical condition, reported WPTA.
“They had to remove part of her skull to relieve blood on her brain, she had multiple bleeds on her brain, she can’t breathe on her own. She’s on a ventilator, she’s got a neck brace,” she told the news station.
Lucas said she had feared something would happen to her granddaughter and tried notifying Child Protective Services about her concerns.
“Knew this was going to happen. I reported it, CPS did nothing about it and… if he’s beating on her, it’s only a matter of time before he started beating on my granddaughter. And there’s the proof right there.”
Lucas said she does not know whether Caroline would be able to recover.
“Do they think that she will recover? It’s up to her at this point. They can’t give me any word on that. They don’t know if she’s going to have brain damage. They don’t know,” she added.
Fort Wayne Police Officer Michael Joyner said it was not easy when dealing with abused children.
“When you’re dealing with defenseless individuals, it just hits home for us because we have children, too,” he told the news station.
Moran appeared in court on Friday, March 16. No further details have been released by police.