The mother of Skye Sabrina Lynn Durham blames her temperamental 4-year-old boy for injuries that will likely leave his 2˝-month-old sister in need of medical care to survive in a near vegetative state.
Merrissa A. Neuroth claims her son, Christopher, caused the most serious injuries by kicking and punching Skye
. The 24-year-old mother of three believes her baby's injuries weren't the result of Skye reportedly squirming out of her fiancé's arms and hitting the floor.
Investigators asked two Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, physicians treating Skye whether children could have caused those injuries. Both had the same conclusion.
"In my opinion, there is no way a sibling 2 or 4 years of age could cause these injuries
," Dr. Ann S. Botash told police.
"There is a possibility that my 4-year-old son did it because he's very violent. He has raised his fist to her while I was feeding her before and said he was going to kill the baby.
He said he didn't want the baby around," Ms. Neuroth said Monday.
Ms. Neuroth said she was out shopping when the fall reportedly occurred. When she returned, Skye was sleeping and seemed fine. So she decided to go next door to check on Mr. Durham, who was painting a room, while leaving her three young children alone for a time.
Ms. Neuroth said she believes during her absence Christopher attacked Skye, after seeing bruising around the baby's face when she returned from visiting Mr. Durham. Mr. Durham didn't mention Skye's fall to her until the next day.
"He didn't think nothing of it because he figured he thought that drop couldn't have hurt her," Ms. Neuroth said.
Ms. Neuroth said she waited more than a day before taking Skye to Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, because she wouldn't eat. She claims she didn't realize the seriousness of her baby's injuries.
She said she also didn't want to call an ambulance, opting to wait several hours until her sister could drive them to the hospital.
"I didn't know that there was something actually that seriously wrong with her," Ms. Neuroth said. "I thought she wasn't eating. It was just bruises."
Skye was later taken to Upstate Medical and initially was listed in critical condition and placed on life support. She has since been taken off life support, but still needs a feeding tube and constant care.
"They said that she was punched in the back of the head,
" Ms. Neuroth said. "They said that she had two fractured ribs and has blood on the brain and her brain has shifted to one side of her head. Her one eye is disconnected and someone smothered her and choked her and pretty much beat her.
When she questioned Christopher about Skye's bruises, he reportedly blamed Maria for the injuries. Ms. Neuroth says Christopher is getting help for his outbursts by seeing a mental health specialist, but continues threatening family members
Ms. Neuroth said she didn't want to keep Skye initially because three kids was too much for her, but Mr. Durham changed her mind
. Released from state prison a day before she gave birth to Skye, he offered to help raise the children. Skye was born Jan. 20 at Massena Memorial Hospital.
"I didn't want to keep her when she was born because I didn't trust her around Chris," Ms. Neuroth said.
Doctors say the long-term prognosis for Skye isn't promising, but her mother isn't giving up.
"They said no matter if she survives, she will be a vegetable," Ms. Neuroth said. "I'm not going to (sign a do not resuscitate order). I'm not going to let her die. I am still believing that she will come through this."
"His rape charge was on me,"
said Ms. Neuroth, noting wedding plans are on hold until the case is resolved. "He's not a sex offender in my eyes. We have been on and off together since I was 16."