Jordan Gribble / The Houma Press
HOUMA, La. — A Houma infant who was injured by his mother about three weeks ago is on life support at a New Orleans hospital, and the state will ultimately decide his fate, authorities said.
“They've been taking him off life support and then putting him right back on it,” Terrebonne sheriff's Maj. Malcom Wolfe said.
Jeremiah Simpson, about 2 months old, who was violently shaken and thrown against his bassinet by his mother on March 18 at his father's North Bayou Black Drive home, is still in critical condition, Wolfe said.
The infant was transported unconscious and barely breathing to Children's Hospital in New Orleans after initially being treated at Terrebonne General Medical Center. He suffers from severe skull fractures and extensive brain bleeding as a result of the attack, Terrebonne Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said.
His 19-year-old mother, Tina Simpson, 1301 Bourg St., told deputies she attacked the child due to his incessant crying. She has been charged with attempted second-degree murder and faces 10-50 years in prison if convicted. She is being held at the parish jail on a $500,000 bond.
Legal custody of the boy has been taken from his mother and granted to the state instead of being given to his father or another family member, Wolfe said.
Lindsey deBlieux, public information director for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, said specific details of the case cannot be divulged, but granting custody to the state is not unusual when one of the parents is in jail.
“Frequently whenever the state gets involved in these cases of abuse we look first to other family members to take custody of the child,” deBlieux said. “Even when the state has already been granted custody, we'll look for family members to act as foster parents or guardians, whether that be a parent the child doesn't already live with, an aunt, uncle or grandparent. That's always the first choice.”
When a suitable guardian can't be found, the state takes control of the child's care as it has in this case, deBlieux said.
The agency will decide whether to keep the boy on life support, Wolfe said.
If Jeremiah dies from his injuries or removal of life support, his mother's charges will be upgraded to second-degree murder, Wolfe said.