A woman in New Jersey was charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child after she accidentally snapped the neck of a baby she was caring for, belonging to another mother. A medical examiner declared the baby died as a result of homicide due to blunt cerebral trauma.
Michelle Heale, 46, testified on April 7th, 2015 while in court about being responsible for the death of 14-month-old Mason Hess. According to Heale, she observed he was choking on applesauce and struggling to breathe, which led her to attempt to save his life. This occurred on August 28th, 2012.
Using a baby doll, Heale demonstrated how she responded to the baby boy choking on his mid-day snack, which caused her to tear up throughout the process. Heale admitted to hitting the baby hard on his back about four or five times, and the baby eventually spat up the applesauce onto Heale’s shoulder and shirt. Yet once she brought the baby down to see him while hoping for his recovery, without proper support for his head, she found out she got more than she expected.
She saw the baby’s head had snapped back, and his body completely limp. His eyes were open, and he made uncontrollable movements signaling trouble with his breathing. The baby was airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after Heale called 9-1-1 and emergency personnel got involved, but unfortunately he died a few days later on September 1st, 2012.
Heale and her family were very close to the Hess family, and she showed great disbelief for what she had done as well as fear for her future. This included the fear of her very own twin babies being taken away from her. Fortunately for her, she was able to keep custody of her children. Heale is currently free on bail during the trial.