Crime

Infant Dies On Her 1st Birthday After Being Shaken By Mother's Boyfriend

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Nathaniel Jamal WatkinsNathaniel Jamal Watkins

A man has been arrested for allegedly shaking his girlfriend's infant and causing her death from child abuse.

On Dec. 3, investigators believe Nathaniel Jamal Watkins, 25, severely shook 1-year-old Nevaeh Brookens-Roldan while her mother, Hallelujah Brookens, 21, was at a Job Corps class, Tulsa World reported.

It was Nevaeh's first birthday.

When emergency responders arrived at the home Watkins shared with Brookens and her infant daughter, they found the child unresponsive with multiple injuries and in cardiac arrest. 

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Watkins told police that he placed Nevaeh in a crib and then yelled at her when she would not stop crying. He then shook her until she became limp.

He thought she was “gone” and tried to revive her by placing her in a cold bath and pouring water over her. He then dressed her, put her on the couch, and left the room.

When he returned, Nevaeh had fallen off the couch and was gasping on the floor. Watkins told police he shook her again and then put her in a crib while he went to neighbors’ homes for help.

Nevaeh was taken to the hospital and declared brain-dead that afternoon, according to Cpl. Greg Smith with the Tulsa Police Department Child Crisis Unit.

Watkins was arrested and likely faces a child abuse murder charge. Brookens was also arrested for permitting child abuse.

Police think that Brookens had seen previous injuries on Nevaeh that were made while she was in Watkins’s care but continued to leave her with him.

The shaking of the infant may have caused her to suffer from Shaken Baby Syndrome, a term used to describe brain injury in children under the age of 3, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The shaking may result in bleeding inside the head and cause irreversible brain damage, blindness, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, spinal cord injuries, seizures, learning disabilities, and even death.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is considered a form of child abuse.

Sources: Tulsa World, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services / Photo credit: Tulsa World