Brenda Pratt, 61, was babysitting the 10-week-old girl and two other children when the alleged incident occurred

By Tara Fowler
Updated March 04, 2015 12:25 PM
Credit: Mansfield Police Department

A Mansfield, Ohio, woman has been charged with murder for shaking an infant to death.

Police say Brenda Pratt, 61, was babysitting the 10-week-old girl, whose name has not been released, and two other children when the alleged incident occurred, KPHO reports.

“[The parents] left the state and left the baby and the other children in the care of this lady,” Sgt. Ken Carroll told the TV station.

“This is one of those, truly, a shaken baby case,” he added.

Shaken baby syndrome is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a “serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.” It can lead to permanent brain damage or even death, as was the case here.

The police started an investigation into the incident after receiving a call from Akron Children’s Hospital on Jan. 21, according to the Mansfield News Journal. Hospital staff told authorities they were treating an infant for “significant injuries.” The baby girl died two weeks later, on Feb. 3.

Pratt had no criminal background, police say. She has been charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering a child and felonious assault, KPHO reports.

Carroll said the area’s seen a string of cases involving infants in recent weeks.

“We had three baby cases that came within a two-week period of time. It put a lot of stress on our detectives here,” Carroll told KPHO.

His advice for those who feel like they’re about to lose it with a child? “Make sure the child is in a safe place, and sit down, and walk away for a few minutes, and then come back, and care for your child,” he said.

Pratt is being held on $1 million bail.