Daycare owner charged with child abuse

NOBLE, Okla. (KFOR) - Melissa Clark showed little emotion as she walked from the courtroom in shackles after a judge decided there was enough evidence to try her for the first-degree murder of 5-month-old Braelyn Zachary.

Monday, the prosecution called Dr. Sarah Passmore, who specializes in child abuse.

Passmore testified Zachary had a "subdural hematoma, severe retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes and a bruise on her forehead, which is consistent with impact."

Special agent Lynda Stevens, who interviewed Clark after Zachary was taken to the hospital, testified Clark admitted to her she threw Zachary.

In court documents, Clark listed two different incidents that injured the baby the day she was taken to the hospital.

Clark told investigators, around 11:30 that morning, she was holding the baby and went to the kitchen and, while opening a water bottle, "somehow, Clark dropped the baby and the baby hit the tile floor."

She said the baby's "head hit the tile first."

Later, she said "the other children were arguing and fighting, and she couldn't get them to stop. At that time, the baby was also crying and wouldn't stop. Clark lost it and threw the baby onto the bouncy seat."

And, her "body hit the bar on the bouncy seat."

From there, the baby "fell onto the floor."

Clark said she put the baby back in the bouncy seat and, when Zachary fell asleep, laid her on a blanket on the floor.

A short time later, she heard a sound as if "the baby was choking on fluids."

She rushed over and picked her up and noticed her "body was limp and that she wasn't breathing but once every 10 to 15 seconds."

Doctors at the hospital in Tulsa told investigators the events Clark described may have happened that day but they still didn't explain the baby's injuries.

Passmore also testified Monday that Zachary's "condition would have been caused by a shaking component – thrusting of the head forward and backward with acceleration and deceleration."

And, "this is a child abuse case, the baby was shaken and, due to the severity of the injuries, the symptoms would have been immediate."

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