A York County woman pleaded guilty Thursday in York-Poquoson Circuit Court to one count of child abuse and neglect connected to the death of her infant son in November.Sabrina A. Battad, 20, was initially charged with first-degree murder when she was arrested Nov. 18, but the charge was reduced to second-degree murder before it was finally reduced to child neglect.
At Thursday’s hearing, York-Poquoson Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Donna Maw said Battad told authorities she was home alone on the morning of Nov. 18 when her son, Curtis, became fussy. Battad said that when the baby refused to take milk, she bounced and patted the child on her lap until he fell asleep, then placed him in his crib. She told investigators the baby shook a little as she laid him down on his stomach, but she said that was normal. When she thought she heard a cry, she went to check on him and found her baby was not breathing.
After further investigation, authorities heard Battad was easily frustrated and handled her baby roughly. When questioned again, Battad said the baby was having a temper tantrum, and then began to cry as she told authorities she had shaken the baby. She said he cried loudly, his face turned red and she thought he might not be breathing, but she placed him in his crib. She estimated 10 to 15 minutes passed before she checked on him again, at which time she found he wasn’t breathing and called her mother for help. Her mother advised calling 911.
Maw said the amount of time Battad allowed to lapse between her first hint the baby wasn’t breathing and her call to 911 constituted child neglect. An autopsy performed by the medical examiner showed no signs of shaken baby syndrome, but a Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters pediatric expert wrote that minutes could have made a difference in saving the child’s life, and “a prudent parent would have called.”
Citing the tragic nature of the case, Judge Richard AtLee denied the defense’s request for bond. Battad will be sentenced Sept. 6.