Infant deaths in NJ a coincidence?

September 23, 2009 3:19:29 PM PDT
Four infants in Elizabeth, New Jersey, died within eight days of each other.The deaths all happened within a couple of miles of each other. The question now is whether it was just a tragic coincidence, or if the deaths are connected?

"I passed out, just started screaming," Tiffany McCray said.

And that's about all she can remember of Sunday morning, when she found her youngest child Ray'son, just 2 months old, dead in her bed.

"When I woke up, I went down to get my baby cup," she said. "I came back upstairs. When I turned him over, he was dead."

The shock and the pain is unimaginable. Tiffany buried her baby the next day. Now, a memorial stands in her living room, with a lit candle, Ray'son's favorite teddy bear and the bottle he drank out of.

"I've been just sitting there, trying to figure out how this happened to my baby," she said.

And what's worse is that she is not alone.

On September 12, a 3-month-old girl died a few blocks away in a home on Broadway. Days later, Ray'son and a 4-month-old boy on Loomis Street died. Then, a fourth infant died nearby on Hand Place.

It's odd enough for four infants to die in an eight-day period. But it's even more bizarre that they all lived within 2 miles of each other.

"It is very, very rare," said Dr. Joseph Kuchinski, head of emergency medicine at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, where two of the infants were born.

He says if the deaths are classified as sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, it would be a first in his two decades of practicing.

"I don't think I've seen four SIDS deaths is 20 years," he said.

So then, what killed these babies in such a short amount of time? Coincidence, or something more?

For Tiffany, all that matters right now is getting through the day with her three other kids. Two-year-old Ray'quan wonders where his little brother went.

"He be asking me why the cops took the baby," Tiffany said. "He seen what happened. What do you tell him? I tell him the baby went to heaven."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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