Tierria McDaniel knew her husband had lost a daughter two years ago, but she never knew the mind-boggling details until her own infant son was at death's door due to alleged abuse.
"It was just killing me," Tierria McDaniel told KCTV5's Jeanene Kiesling exclusively. "It's two kids now. One is deceased and my son is on his deathbed. But he made it, so I am grateful for that. But at the same time, how did y'all let the first one get away?"
And she feared another baby would be harmed until her husband, Jamaal, was arrested earlier this week.
Jamaal L. McDaniel faces abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. Jamirr McDaniel suffered a fracture to his left femur, old and new brain hemorrhaging and fractured ribs, according to court records.
This occurred in January when the baby was just 7 weeks old, but his father wasn't charged until this week. Jamirr is likely to have long-term brain injuries due to the abuse, his family says.
Jamirr and Tierra McDaniel's daughter have been placed in the custody of their great-aunt. Tierra McDaniel has visitations with them and she is fighting to get back custody.
She said she never imagined that the man she has known most of her life would intentionally hurt her baby. But while she was at work on her first day back from maternity leave, she said her husband let her know that he had nearly dropped their son while bathing him and had to grab him roughly.
She said she was concerned because of a prior similar incident. When she got home, she lifted his jumpsuit up and "his whole leg was purple."
She took photos and sent them to both her mother and mother in law, who advised her to get immediate medical attention. So she rushed her son to Children's Mercy Hospital where she got a double whammy.
"The hospital was telling me the story just didn't add up. And I was like, 'well, I figured that,'" she said.
Not only did doctors, nurses and social workers think her son had been abused by her husband, but she learned his daughter had died under questionable circumstances in 2011.
"In this little short time, your whole life is just flipped," she said.
She had been told that her husband's 4-month-old daughter had died of sudden infant death syndrome. And that is what the medical examiner's office had ruled.
But an autopsy showed something more sinister. The autopsy showed that Jamaal McDaniel's infant daughter had five broken bones in various stages of healing, which the medical examiner said was consistent with abuse. Those injuries are similar to those found on Jamirr.
According to court records obtained exclusively by KCTV5, the state's family services agency investigated Jamaal McDaniel and the mother of his daughter. After she got pregnant again and gave birth, their parental rights were terminated and the baby was taken into protective custody.
However, there is no indication that any charges were filed in the death of the girl.
After she learned that, Tierra McDaniel was relieved her son's injuries were discovered before he was dead. And she feared history would repeat itself.
"I just kept saying, 'he's going to go after another person with another baby.' I thought they were going to let it go. I was just happy they had him," she said.
KCTV5 has reached out to prosecutors, police officers and the state social service system to ask about the daughter's death, but no one has responded. We will keep you updated.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Evansville, IN 47720