Baby sitter accused of shaking infant

A Mid-Missouri woman has been charged in connection with what authorities believe to be a case of shaken baby syndrome.

According to Cole County court documents, Shelley Richter, 40, of 6018 Helias Drive at Taos, is charged with felony abuse of a child. She was released from custody after posting a $5,000 bond.

The charging document in this case shows Richter struck the victim's head and shook it causing retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematoma.

A Cole County Sheriff's Department probable cause statement shows the incident occurred last Thursday afternoon.

Investigators talked with the parents of the 7-month-old boy who said their son was in the care of Richter and had been dropped on a linoleum-covered concrete floor.

They said Richter had been the boy's baby sitter since he was around 10 weeks old.

Richter told investigators that while picking up the boy from a walker where she stated he was being "good," Richter said she took a step backward, tripped over a toddler that she had not seen behind her.

Richter went on to say that she started to fall backward toward the ground and as she was falling, she must have let go of the boy, causing him to fall to the ground. Richter also said she picked the boy up almost immediately and the boy went limp. She then put him down on the floor and called 911.

On Friday, doctors at University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, where the boy was taken for treatment, diagnosed the boy with having an old subdural hematoma and a new one, along with severe retinal hemorrhages. The doctors also said it appeared the boy was suffering from shaken baby syndrome.

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