Police in Bossier City have cleared a man of criminal wrongdoing in the sudden partial paralysis of a 3-year-old girl following an alleged spanking.
Family members of Miley Ray Sharp told police and KSLA News 12 that they believed the child suffered trauma at the hands of a family friend who was supposed to be keeping an eye on her on June 19th, when he allegedly spanked her for soiling her pants.
The next day, Miley went from being an energetic and active little girl to being bruised, partially paralyzed and on life support in the hospital. Two months later, Miley's condition has improved, but she is still in the hospital. She is continuing her recovery since being transferred a local hospital to Children's Hospital in New Orleans.
As KSLA News 12 first reported on Thursday, one of the doctors that has examined Miley had concluded that her condition could have been caused by a viral infection. KSLA News 12 has not been able to speak with that doctor, but LSU Hospital neurologist Dr. Stephen Jaffe says it is possible, with a neurological condition called "transverse myelitis" that swells the spinal cord.
Still, family members weren't convinced. Miley's grandmother Judy McDonald points to text messages from the family friend show him admitting to spanking the little girl, and claims Miley had bruising on her nose and on her spinal cord. They believe the "spanking" gave her whiplash and damaged her spine. "I'm beyond mad, I want the person held accountable," said McDonald.
On Friday afternoon, however, Bossier City police released a statement saying that no charges will be brought.
"Detectives with the Bossier City Police Department's Juvenile Unit have conducted a vigorous investigation into this matter over these past several weeks and have consulted with multiple physicians over the course of the investigation," says BCPD spokesman Mark Natale.
"Detectives have learned that at least five doctors, including a neurologist in New Orleans who examined the child in question, have determined that the child's condition is the result of a medical issue and not due to trauma. Detectives also learned that the child did not sustain any internal injuries constant with trauma. Based on that evidence, detectives, in consultation with the district attorney, have concluded that no evidence exists to warrant criminal charges in this matter."
Eric Johnson is the attorney for the family friend who allegedly spanked Miley. He told KSLA News 12 on Friday that his client is obviously relieved to have been cleared, but that the allegations have turned his client's life upside down. "It has caused him problems with his work and obviously with his family and in his personal life," says Johnson.
But he also says of Bossier City police and prosecutors, "They did a great job of investigating the case and in waiting on the medical reports to come in from the physicians that examined this child to determine what actually happened to this child."
McDonald says she is furious about the findings of the investigation. " The only reason Eric Johnson got his client off was due to technicality and that is it," said McDonald. The technicality, according to McDonald, is that Miley Ray did not show signs of an infection once a spinal tap was able to be done. That was done after 10 days of antibiotics. Mcdonald says that helps Johnson because now whether Miley's condition was caused by trauma or infection cannot be proven.
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