Mary Katherine Smith, 39, of Hephzibah, was jailed July 31 on a charge of second-degree cruelty to children soon after her 2-year-old son, Mason, was hospitalized. He was on life support until his Aug. 3 death.
She told investigators that Mason has a syndrome that causes him to hold his breath until he passes out. She said he fell July 30 while she was making him sit in the corner of his room.
Police said Smith, a licensed practical nurse, shook and slapped the boy in an attempt to revive him. Three hours later, they say, she sought medical attention after his oxygen level dipped to a dangerous level.
The child experienced a similar incident last year and was taken to the hospital, but he was released without treatment.
An arrest warrant said medical staffers found retinal hemorrhaging behind both of the boy’s eyes, minimal brain activity, healing rib fractures on the right side and a herniated bleed
on the left side of the brain.
At a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Shawn Merzlak said court officials were working to take a homicide case against Smith to the grand jury as early as next week. The upgraded
charges were announced by the sheriff’s office.
The preliminary cause of death was blunt impact head trauma, but the manner is homicide, officials said.