An Idaho woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for violently shaking a 6-month-old baby she was babysitting.
Sarah Kuiper-Boles, 29, had met Simona Contreras through Facebook. After a while, she was able to gain the mother’s trust and started babysitting her four children several times a week, KTVB reported.
But Kuiper-Boles would soon betray that trust. Contreras came home one day and noticed some strange behavior from her baby son, Julian.
"He did not want me to hold him. He looked really uncomfortable,” Contreras told KTVB. “He looked like he's been screaming and crying."
Kuiper-Boles told Contreras that the child had rolled off the couch. Julian’s strange behavior worsened and he started vomiting. The mother took the baby boy to the hospital and doctors told her he might have a virus.
A week later, a CAT scan revealed that something far more serious had happened to baby Julian.
"There was blood and inflammation in his head and fluid flowing around his brain," Contreras said.
Kuiper-Boles eventually confessed that she had violently shook the baby because he wouldn’t stop crying. She admitted to police that on one occasion, the baby’s eyes rolled back, and his body went limp and he began vomiting.
According to a news release, she did not reenact what she did on a baby doll during a police interview because she was afraid to show how hard she had shook Julian and afraid that the doll’s head might fall off.
"She became very upset and began to shake the baby very violently," said Canyon County Sheriff’s Office Detective Shawn Becker. "This is a really horrific crime.”
The shaking caused several problems for the infant child. Julian has had five surgeries, his eyes are crossed and he is not developing normally, his mother said.
"They don't know if he's going to need more surgeries," Contreras said. "They don't know how delayed he's going to be."
Contreras said she’s learned a tough lesson, and that she doesn’t trust anyone with her kids now.
"It's hard. I mean, there's days that I look at him and I cry because I could have lost him," she said. "The way she expressed herself and the way she told me about herself, I felt comfortable with her watching my kids.”
Detective Becker encouraged parents to get a background check and to ask for references when choosing a babysitter.
"Take this experience and look at the people who are babysitting their children, look at the people who are around their children," he added.
Kuiper-Boles was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was ordered to have no contact with the victim, the victim’s family or any minors for that entire period. Detectives told KTVB that the woman had an extensive health and welfare history in another state.