A Chicago woman has been charged with starving her 2-month-old son to death.
When Shawnquail Minnis, 22, gave birth to Jashawn McBride in 2014, the baby was perfectly healthy, weighing just over 8 pounds, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Two years later, the baby had reportedly become so thin that his facial bones and ribs could be seen through his skin, according to court records.
According to prosecutors, Minnis and a friend found Jashawn unresponsive and not breathing on Nov. 4, 2014. By the time paramedics got the baby to the hospital, he was pronounced dead, weighing less than 5 pounds, prosecutors said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled the death homicide by starvation. “The victim’s face was sunken in, showing his facial bones, and the victim’s ribs were visible through his skin,” said assistant state’s attorney Bryan Grissman on Feb. 19.
Jashawn’s uncle, Tyrone Jordan, disputed Grissman’s description of the baby. Jordan said the baby appeared healthy when he saw him about a week before his death. “He was smiling and laughing,” Jordan said. “He didn’t look sick. If he was that skinny, I would have said, ‘Shawnquail, go feed this baby.’”
Regarding the homicide charge, Jordan said: “It doesn’t make any sense. She is not a murderer. She might have been neglectful. … She doesn’t know how to raise a child. She was a baby raising a baby, but my niece is not a murderer.”
The fact that Minnis was not charged with murder until two years after her baby’s death is “unusual,” says assistant public defender Toya Harvey. Minnis and her family were not even aware that the death was considered a murder until a few days ago, Harvey noted.
The charge against Minnis is first-degree murder, and she is being held on $2 million bail at the Cook County Jail, reports ABC News. She is seven months pregnant, and has two other children who are currently in foster care, prosecutors said.