In 1993, infant Makeda Oyeyinka was rushed to the Cook County Hospital emergency room. She was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, and would suffer severe health and developmental problems as a result.
Seventeen years later, after a life spent largely under the care of the state, Oyeyinka has died, and authorities are describing her death as a homicide resulting from the injuries from that 1993 incident.
The Associated Press is reporting that her mother, Theresa Oyeyinka, was charged with felony aggravated battery that year in connection with her daughter's injuries, but was later acquitted.
An autopsy of Oyinka discovered that her death this Monday was partially a result of lack of oxygen to the brain resulting from injuries in her infancy, according to the Herald-Sun. The medical examiner's office thus classed her death as a homicide. But the Chicago Tribune reports that it would be impossible for her mother to face further charges in the case:
Robert Loeb, a criminal-defense attorney and adjunct professor of law at DePaul University's College of Law, said the teen's mother "can't be tried twice … for doing the same thing." In order for police and prosecutors to bring new charges, they would have to prove that the death was caused by "different acts of abuse at different times."
"They would have to charge the defendant did something different from the act for which she was acquitted," he said.
Shaken baby syndrome results from violent shaking of a baby's head, which is relatively heavy as a proportion of its body weight and poorly supported by weak neck muscles. Some victims die immediately, while others face lifelong symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating. Between 600 and 1400 infants suffer the condition each year in the United States, according to the Shaken Baby Coalition.