Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: E-mail memorializes the shaken baby death of 3-month-old London Marie Sherwood.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2007]
Origins: According to news accounts, in mid-November 2007, the mother of three-month-old London Marie Sherwood left the infant in the care of 22-year-old Joshua Alan Schaak of Star Prairie, Wisconsin, after a DNA test established that he was the child's father:
London's mother left the girl with Schaak, after paternity tests proved he was the father, and never came back. Schaak lived in a Star Prairie farmhouse with his father, his father's girlfriend and her two sons, but the family made clear the baby was Schaak's responsibility, not theirs.Three weeks later, on
Although she was in a home with five other people, only one of them held and fed her. The little girl had not been taken out of her bedroom — where she slept on the same mattress with her father — at all during the last week of her life. Baby London's last days were spent on an unkempt mattress, often alone.
Ramsey County Medical Examiner Dr. Michael McGee said an autopsy revealed scattered soft tissue bruises to the face and neck, eye-bleeding and evidence of closed head trauma including hemorrhages. She also had multiple healing rib fractures.When county investigators re-interviewed Joshua Schaak the day after the infant's death, he admitted that London had not hit in her head in the bathtub as he originally claimed, but rather that "he had become frustrated, shaken the baby and then forcefully directed her to the bed where she struck her head on the wall" because the child was crying, acting fussy, and squirming.
Dr. McGee ruled the cause of death as child abuse and the manner of death homicide.
On 16 January 2008, Joshua Schaak pled guilty to a charge of second-degree reckless homicide, and two months later he was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Last updated: 26 September 2008
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