CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — Taylor Burris, 24, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery to a child and endangering the life or health of a child after a 7-week-year-old died from injuries sustained under her care, according to Macon County court documents. Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon’s office handled the autopsy. Allmon confirmed the newborn’s name, Maren Gallagher, after Burris was arraigned in court Wednesday.
Macon County Detective Sergeant Dale Pope said Burris was running an unlicensed daycare out of her home in Forsyth. She was taking care of the 7-week-old.
An affidavit showed police were called to Burris’ house on May 17 because Gallagher was unresponsive. Deputies said Burris told them at first the baby was accidentally hit in the head with a softball that other kids were playing with.
Gallagher was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and later died there. Doctors said she had bruises on her face and was bleeding internally.
When doctors told Sgt. Pope the injuries were indicative of shaken baby syndrome, the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) sent photos to Dr. Jill C. Glick from the University of Chicago for a second opinion, according to the affidavit. The affidavit also states Dr. Glick came to the same strong suspicion after she earlier ruled out a car crash.
This assessment led authorities to interview Burris once again on Tuesday, June 14.
Burris admitted in an interview with Sgt. Pope Tuesday that a dog’s tennis ball hit Gallagher, not a softball like she originally said. Sgt. Pope’s account of the interview says Burris claimed “she was unable to calm Maren and walked her to a back room away from the other kids. Burris said that due to Maren’s crying, she became frustrated and shook Maren.”
Burris also admitted she “Googled” information about “shaken baby syndrome” the night of the incident and called an ambulance about four hours after Gallagher went unresponsive in her care for 20 minutes, according to the affidavit.
She is being held on a $250,000 bond.