Baby Decapitated During Delivery Was a Homicide

Police in Clayton County, Georgia, forward findings to district attorney
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2024 8:19 AM CST
Decapitated Infant's Death Ruled a Homicide
Attorney Cory Lynch, left, joined by Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr. and Jessica Ross, speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Sudhin Thanawala)

A medical examiner's office has ruled the death of an infant decapitated during childbirth at a hospital in Georgia as a homicide. In a lawsuit, Jessica Ross, 20, claims her doctor, Tracy St. Julian, tried for hours to deliver her son, whose shoulder had become wedged in the birth canal. Ultimately, the infant's body was delivered by Cesarean section on July 10, 2023, while the head was delivered vaginally, per FOX 5 Atlanta. Ross knew none of this, per the suit filed against St. Julian, her OB/GYN practice, several nurses, and the hospital, Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale. It alleges St. Julian made no mention of the decapitation when she spoke to the family after delivery.

When they asked to see the baby, Ross and the baby's father, Treveon Taylor, were allegedly shown a tightly wrapped bundle with the baby's head "propped on top of his body" to conceal the condition. The lawsuit claims the hospital also discouraged the couple from seeking an autopsy and encouraged them to cremate the infant, rather than send the body to a funeral home. Funeral home staff would later tell the couple their son had been decapitated, per the suit. They also contacted the Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office. An autopsy found the boy had died from "fracture-dislocation" of his upper cervical spine and spinal cord, shoulder dystocia, arrest of labor, and fetal entrapment, per FOX 5.

The doctor "pulled on the baby's head and neck so hard and manipulated them so hard, that the bones in the baby's skull, head and neck were broken," the suit reads, per WSB. It seeks to hold Premier Womens' OB/GYN "liable for the grossly negligent acts and omissions of its employee." In a statement, the hospital said the baby died "in utero prior to the delivery and decapitation." It also said St. Julian has "never" been an employee. Clayton County Police investigated and have now handed their findings to the District Attorney's office, though it's unclear whether charges will be filed, per WSB. (More homicide stories.)

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